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Biden faces Hispanic workforce problem: Report

Biden faces Hispanic workforce problem: Report

(Washington Examiner – Apr 29, 2024) –

More than half a million Hispanic workers are missing from the labor force, according to a new report, a shortfall that could present major problems for President Joe Biden‘s effort to win over the critical voting bloc.

Since the pandemic, millions of jobs have been added, and the unemployment rate has returned to around where it was in 2019. However, the labor force participation rate has not fully recovered.

The report from the Libre Institute, a group centered on the Hispanic community that advocates free markets and smaller government, found that Hispanic workers make up a big share of workers missing from the labor force, a factor that may be denting Hispanic support for Biden in a critical election year.

The report found that, if the labor force participation rate were fully back to pre-pandemic levels at the end of 2023, there would be 2.1 million more workers in the labor force, and out of those missing workers, 530,000, or 25%, are Hispanic.

Daniel Garza, president of the Libre Institute, told the Washington Examiner that polling indicates the state of the economy is the most important matter for Latino voters.

“The Biden administration has made it a point to promote that their economic policies have been generating a tremendous amount of opportunity and prosperity across the board, when in fact, report after report shows that that’s not the case,” he said.

Garza said that the dearth of workforce participation adds to other economic woes suffered by Hispanic voters, especially high inflation and high interest rates.

“It turns out that of course, when it comes to the labor participation rate, we’re missing a half million Latino workers, so not everything is lollipops and pastelitos and churros,” he said. “People are suffering here and wages are down too, so it’s not keeping up with inflation.”

The Hispanic population has been a growing part of the U.S. electorate. An estimated 36.2 million are eligible to vote this year, up from 32.3 million in 2020, according to the Pew Research Center.
In 2020, Biden won nearly 60% of the Latino vote, but recent polling shows former President Donald Trump making gains with Hispanic voters. A Pew poll found that just a slight majority, 52%, are supporting Biden this year while 44% of registered Hispanic voters are leaning toward a Trump vote.

Hispanics are projected to represent 78% of net new workers from 2020 to 2030, according to the Libre report, authored by policy director Isabel Soto.

“There is enormous economic potential within the Hispanic community that can either be met or squandered depending on crucial policy decision[s],” the report reads. “The current direction that this administration has chosen is one that limits worker freedom and choice, harms small businesses and increases the cost of doing business for key industries.”

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