UNITED STATES NEWS

Latinas left workforce at highest rate, see slow recovery

Jun 16, 2021, 7:00 PM
FILE - In this March 2, 2021, file photo, a woman, wearing a protective mask due to the coronavirus...

FILE - In this March 2, 2021, file photo, a woman, wearing a protective mask due to the coronavirus, walks past the signs of an employment agency, in Manchester, N.H. A new report finds that Latinas have left the workforce at rates higher than any other demographic and also have had some of the highest unemployment rates throughout the pandemic. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa, File)

(AP Photo/Charles Krupa, File)

PHOENIX (AP) — Teresa Marez spent 14 years building a strong clientele base as a hair stylist in San Antonio. When her son, who is autistic, had to switch to virtual learning because of the pandemic, she quit her job to help him.

It’s been 10 months, and the clients are all gone.

Marez is one of many Latinas who have been out of work since last year. Latinas have left the workforce at rates higher than any other demographic and have had some of the highest unemployment rates throughout the pandemic, according to a report by the UCLA Latino Policy and Politics Initiative, a Latino-focused think tank, provided to The Associated Press before its release on Wednesday.

That could spell trouble not just for a post-pandemic economic recovery but for the long-term stability of the country as baby boomers continue to retire and women in general are feeling compelled to leave work. And women like Marez, who has used much of her savings, are missing out on years of economic gains.

Before the pandemic, Latinas were projected to increase their numbers in the workforce by nearly 26% from 2019 to 2029 — a higher rate than any other group, the report found. It’s unclear if or how that projection will now change.

Marez isn’t sure what she’s going to do next.

“If I did go back to doing hair, I would be starting from the beginning again, really,” she said. “I was kind of burned out anyway and I can’t see myself at like 45 years old starting from the beginning.”

Marez is thinking about going back to school to study nutrition and Spanish, but she’s still working out a plan.

The UCLA study found that Latinas experienced the highest unemployment rate — 20% — of any demographic in April 2020, right after all of the business shutdowns began. By the end of 2020, when businesses were starting to reopen, Latinas and Black women still had nearly double the unemployment rate of their white counterparts, the study found.

Also troubling: the rate at which Latinas dropped from the workforce altogether, which the government usually considers to be the case when someone hasn’t actively looked for work in four weeks.

Participation in the labor force for Latinas aged 25 to 54 fell from 71% pre-pandemic to just below 67% in May 2021, according to the latest available data by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. That translates to 465,000 fewer Latinas working or seeking work.

Kassandra Hernández, a lead researcher on the UCLA report, said this is crucial to how the economy recovers from the pandemic.

“If we don’t recognize the complexities or the nuances of these narratives, of what’s happening with Latinas, we might actually be set back,” Hernández said.

Simply put: The American workforce needs Latinas to fill the many jobs that are slowly starting to come back, and those that will be left behind by retiring baby boomers.

Sylvia Allegretto, a labor economist at the University of California, Berkeley, said the U.S. economy already faces challenges from slowing birthrates, an aging workforce and declining immigration. Retirements among older Americans have also increased. A growing workforce is a key driver of economic growth.

“The long-term trend is we don’t have enough workers,” she said. “If you want to make sure you have a vibrant, growing economy, you need more people.”

But Allegretto said businesses also need to offer higher pay and better benefits so that more of those who were laid off or quit jobs during the pandemic can re-enter the workforce. That may take more time as much of the economy is still reopening from the pandemic shutdown. California just lifted all its business restrictions Tuesday, she noted.

“If (employers) have to start sweetening the deal, maybe with some benefits, maybe with some time off, that’s a good thing,” Allegretto said.

Latinas face many hurdles. Research has shown Latinas are more likely than all other U.S. mothers to stay home with children instead of work. They also tend to do much more work at home than the men in their lives, spending twice as much time on household activities and nearly three times more time caring for household members than Latinos.

Latinas are overrepresented in low-wage jobs in the hospitality and broader service industries, stifling their upward mobility.

Hernández said women need access to child care, better pay and educational opportunities to help them overcome not just the disparities in career opportunities but the setbacks that the pandemic brought.

The pandemic forced many Latinas to leave work to care not just for their children but also for extended family — “the tios or abuelos or vecinos — you name it,” said Xochitl Oseguera, the vice president of MamásConPoder, the Spanish-language community that’s part of MomsRising, a grassroots organization that works to improve women’s economic security.

Latinos were disproportionately affected by the pandemic. They were more than twice as likely to die from COVID-19 as whites, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Their vaccination rates are much lower, too, so while many Americans feel the coronavirus is behind them, the pandemic lives in Latino communities.

Oseguera works with Latinas in different industries and hears firsthand why so many haven’t returned to the workforce.

“They’re worried about going back and getting sick,” Oseguera said. “My hope is also that those jobs really reconsider the way that we have been working with essential workers to not only have a secure environment but also have access to paid family leave, paid sick leave, access to fair pay, so that we can really recover from the last year of not being part of the workforce.”

For Ciara Fernandez Faber, going back to work also depends on the work-life balance she needs to care for her toddler. Faber, who lives in Denver, left her job as an attorney when her son’s preschool closed. Her husband is a doctor, and it wasn’t an option for him to stay home with him.

“To my experience, like, it doesn’t matter what profession it is, it just seems like across the board it’s impacted Latina women more. I don’t know if it’s like values that we place on work-life balance or child care issues. I don’t know,” Faber said.

Associated Press writers Alexandra Olson in New York City and Chris Rugaber in Arlington, Virginia, contributed to this report.

Galván covers issues impacting Latinos in the U.S. for the AP’s Race and Ethnicity team. Follow her on Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/astridgalvan

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Lifetime Windows & Doors

United States News

Associated Press

French MPs want abortion rights inscribed in constitution

PARIS (AP) — A group of lawmakers belonging to French President Emmanuel Macron’s party will propose a bill to inscribe abortion rights into the country’s constitution, according to the statement by two members of parliament on Saturday. The move comes after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned a 50-year-old ruling and stripped women’s constitutional protections for […]
4 hours ago
Local resident Tetyana points at her house heavily damaged by the Russian shelling in Bakhmut, Done...
Associated Press

Russia pushes to block 2nd city in eastern Ukraine

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Russian forces are trying to block a city in eastern Ukraine, the region’s governor said Saturday, after their relentless assault on a nearby city forced Ukrainian troops to begin withdrawal after weeks of intense fighting. Russia also launched missile attacks on areas far from the heart of the eastern battles. Serhiy […]
4 hours ago
FIFA President Gianni Infantino answers questions during a 2026 soccer World Cup news conference Th...
Associated Press

Group asks for living wages, labor rights for 2026 World Cup

With this year’s World Cup in Qatar clouded by labor and human rights issues, there’s a push for the North American cities awarded games for the 2026 tournament to commit to livable wages, equitable hiring and worker protection. The Dignity 2026 coalition has brought together groups including the AFL-CIO, Human Rights Watch and the Independent […]
1 day ago
FILE - Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine, center, and his wife Fran, right, talk with specialist Emily Milosevi...
Associated Press

Army Guard troops risk dismissal as vaccine deadline looms

WASHINGTON (AP) — Up to 40,000 Army National Guard soldiers across the country — or about 13% of the force — have not yet gotten the mandated COVID-19 vaccine, and as the deadline for shots looms, at least 14,000 of them have flatly refused and could be forced out of the service. Guard soldiers have […]
1 day ago
Karen Sloan said she's a registered Republican who backs abortion rights, Friday, June 24, 2022 in ...
Associated Press

Dems hope to harness outrage, sadness after abortion ruling

YARDLEY, Pa. (AP) — The shock quickly turned to sadness for Victoria Lowe. The 37-year-old lawyer, working outside a cafe in suburban Bucks County, Pennsylvania, said she couldn’t believe the Supreme Court stripped away the constitutional right to abortion that women have had her entire life. She started to cry. “I don’t understand how they […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

Today in History: June 25, Anne Frank’s diary published

Today in History Today is Saturday, June 25, the 176th day of 2022. There are 189 days left in the year. Today’s Highlight in History: On June 25, 1876, Lt. Col. Colonel George A. Custer and his 7th Cavalry were wiped out by Sioux and Cheyenne Indians in the Battle of the Little Bighorn in […]
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

(Courtesy Condor)...
Condor Airlines

Condor Airlines shows passion for destinations from Sky Harbor with new-look aircraft

Condor Airlines brings passion to each flight and connects people to their dream destinations throughout the world.
...
CANVAS ANNUITY

Best retirement savings rates hit 4.30%

Maximize your retirement savings with guaranteed fixed rates up to 4.30%. Did you know there is a financial product that can give you great interest rates as you build your retirement savings and provide you with a paycheck for life once you retire? It might sound too good to be true but it is not; this product is called an annuity.
...
Carla Berg, MHS, Deputy Director, Public Health Services, Arizona Department of Health Services

Update your child’s vaccines before kindergarten

So, your little one starts kindergarten soon. How exciting! You still have a few months before the school year starts, so now’s the time to make sure students-to-be have the vaccines needed to stay safe as they head into a new chapter of life.
Latinas left workforce at highest rate, see slow recovery