August 05, 2020

The coronavirus outbreak has significantly harmed the finances of U.S. Hispanics. As the nation’s economy contracted at a record rate in recent months, the group’s unemployment rate rose sharply, particularly among Hispanic women, and remains higher among Hispanic workers than U.S. workers overall. With Hispanic households absorbing lost jobs and wages, many have said they may not be able to pay their bills. Yet even before the outbreak, Hispanics were concerned about their economic situation despite near record low levels of unemployment through the end of 2019.

As the United States locked down amid COVID-19, the unemployment rate for Hispanics increased from 4.8% in February to a peak of 18.5% in April before dropping to 14.5% in June, nonseasonally adjusted.1 This exceeds levels from the Great Recession of 2007-2009, when the unemployment rate peaked at 13.9% in January 2010. Hispanic women have experienced an especially steep rise in their unemployment rate, which jumped from 5.5% to 20.5% between February and April 2020.2 By comparison, the unemployment rate for Hispanic men rose from 4.3% to 16.9% during this time. In June, the unemployment rate of U.S.-born Hispanics (15.3%) was higher than that of foreign-born Hispanics (13.5%), after the rates for both groups peaked at more than 18% in April.

Latinos say they have had a hard time making ends meet during the outbreak, according to Pew Research Center surveys. About six-in-ten Latinos (59%) in May said they live in households that have experienced job losses or pay cuts due to the coronavirus outbreak, with a far lower share of U.S. adults (43%) saying the same. As Latino incomes dwindled, most in April said they do not have emergency funds to cover three months of expenses, and half or more said they worry daily or nearly every day about financial issues like paying their bills, the amount of debt they carry and the cost of health care.

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