MN Report: Latinos Poised to Become Economic Force
Monday, May 15, 2023
Over the past decade, Minnesota has seen a 38% increase in residents who identify as Latino or Hispanic. Amid a tight labor market, a new report suggests they could play a big role in bolstering the region's workforce.
This spring, the state Department of Economic and Employment Development issued findings that lay out opportunities and challenges for this population when it comes to economic well-being.
For example, Latinos have the highest regional labor force participation rate of any race or origin group - but there are disparities, such as household income.
Henry Jiménez - board member for Comunidades Organizando el Poder y la Acción Latina (COPAL-MN), which is a member-based organization leading social change - suggested employers improve their hiring efforts for well-paying jobs.
"I can tell you right now I hate hearing when folks say, 'Oh, we're having a hard time finding talent,'" said Jiménez. "I can tell you that there's a lot of talent here in Minnesota, and again there's a disconnect with connecting the current pool of qualified candidates."
He encouraged businesses to do more outreach through media outlets that serve Spanish-speaking audiences.
The report says in 2021, 14% of the state's Hispanic or Latino population had incomes below the poverty level, compared with just 7% of white residents.
Jiménez said he also hopes Latino entrepreneurs take note of the population surge and seek out ways to expand their reach.
"There's clearly a need for more produce, products and services by Latinos for Latinos," said Jiménez.
But Jiménez, who also is president of Minnesota's Latino Economic Development Center, noted that access to business loans is a barrier for Latinos.
Meanwhile, manufacturing is the biggest job sector for the state's Hispanic or Latino population. But within the past decade, there's been a more than 300% increase in these individuals being hired for health-care and social-assistance jobs.
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