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Skyrocketing unemployment rates, data show Hispanics are hardest hit economically during coronavirus pandemic

Data from May 8 showed unemployment rate for Hispanics soared to 18.9%

SAN ANTONIO – The coronavirus pandemic is leading to a staggering number of job losses across the country and Hispanics have been hit particularly hard, according to a recent Washington Post-Ipsos poll and data from the U.S. Department of Labor.

The poll surveyed more than 8,000 adults to focus on the economic impact of COVID-19 and which groups were likely to be hit the most whether it was layoffs or furloughs.

The poll found that Hispanics are almost twice as likely as Whites to lose their jobs during the pandemic.

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“The Hispanic number, 20% of respondents said they have lost a job since the pandemic started compared to about 11% of White workers,” said Washington Post reporter Tracy Jan.

“When businesses started shutting down in mid-March, it was hotels and restaurants that were hit first and hardest and eventually translated into retail, construction,” said Jan. “A lot of industries that Hispanics are disproportionately employed in and often times low wage industries who were bearing the brunt of the pandemic.”

The number was higher for Hispanic men -- 22% of Hispanic men responded to the poll saying they had been laid off or furloughed.

“One of the reasons that people think Hispanic men were hit the hardest is because they’re really over-represented in the construction sector. They make up more than 25% of construction workers nationally,” said Jan.

The poll also showed that 18% of Hispanic women reported being furloughed or laid off.

The poll reflected recent statistics from the U.S. Department of Labor.

The department reported on May 8 that unemployment rates for Hispanics or Latinos rose to 18.9% in April compared to 16.7% for Blacks, 14.5% for Asians and 14.2% for Whites.

The increase alone for Hispanics from March to April was nearly 13%.

Whites, Blacks and Asians all had an increase of around 10%, the data showed.

(U.S. Department of Labor statistics from May 8)
(U.S. Department of Labor statistics from May 8)

The data from the labor department also showed young workers have also been hit hard.

The unemployment rate for teens between 16 and 19 years old was nearly 32% in April.

Jan said while it may not seem like a big deal because of their age, many of these teenage workers come from disadvantaged economic areas and help their parents or family with bills and other costs.

“A lot of those young people are working because they have families, maybe not their own children, but their parents, their extended household members that they need to take care of,” said Jan. “And so we can’t discount that impact on them for the long term.”

RELATED: Texas Governor announces more openings: Water parks, recreational sports, driver’s ed

The latest numbers from the Texas Workforce Commission showed San Antonio’s unemployment rate surpassed 13% last month.

Businesses across the state are reopening under Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s Open Texas plan, but the impact of these job losses is expected to be felt for years to come.


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