Economic Progress Report, November 2009
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National data clearly demonstrate that the economic downturn is disproportionately impacting communities of color in the United States. The federal government's multiple responses to the crisis were intended to provide much-needed relief to millions of families and create jobs for the unemployed; however, for a variety of reasons, federal recovery efforts have failed to benefit many families, workers, and neighborhoods. According to a recent survey of registered voters conducted by the Hart Research Group, 54% of Hispanics report that someone in their household has been personally affected by the recession. Yet, fewer than 30% of Latinos report seeing any direct benefits of federal recovery efforts in their communities, including jobs saved or created in the public and private sector or new loans for small businesses. More than one million Latino workers have lost their jobs, and Latinos have experienced the largest increase in underemployment of any group since the recession began in December 2007. It is estimated that more than 400,000 Hispanic families will have lost their homes to foreclosure by the end of 2009. These widening disparities in economic well-being have left many Latinos with little confidence in Congress's ability to stop the steady unraveling of economic security and pave the path to success for the next generation. Congress and the administration must do more to restore hope and economic opportunity for consumers, homeowners, and workers, to the same degree it did for investors, financial institutions, and state governments. A recovery that leaves out minority communities robs all Americans of prosperity and widens racial and ethnic disparities in economic and financial security. Any initiatives to revive the economy must also be paired with deliberate efforts to rebuild the crumbling foundation of protections that American workers and consumers have come to expect: decent wages, safe working conditions, and fair and safe financial products.