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Even after improved jobs report, Latinos remain heavily impacted amid pandemic

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While the national unemployment rate has ticked down in the most recent jobs report, the news hasn’t been so fortunate for all workers. “Latinos, who have been the hardest hit by the nation’s coronavirus-related economic crisis, once again led all groups in joblessness this month, with 17.6 percent of Latinos unemployed,” NBC News reported. But times remain tough even for those fortunate enough to be working again. 

Andrea Osorio, a housekeeper and mom of four in San Antonio, told NBC News that while she’s bringing in money again, she’s been able to recover only half of the 10 clients who laid her off as COVID-19 infections began to surge across the country.“But Osorio tells NBC News she can pay bills again, even if she doesn’t have the extra spending money she had in the past,” the report continued.

A slew of data in recent weeks has indicated Latinos have been devastated by the pandemic in both human and economic losses. 

A survey last month showed one-fourth of Latinos said they know someone who has become sick with COVID-19, and of that group, one-third said they know someone who has died from the virus. “More disconcerting is the fact that a startling high percentage of Latinos—27%—report that they know someone who wants a test, but has been unable to get tested,” leading polling firm Latino Decisions said.

Latinos have also been “more likely than Americans overall to say they or someone in their household has experienced a pay cut or lost their job because of the coronavirus outbreak,“ Pew Research Center said in further findings. “Only 25.2 percent of Latinos could do work from home when the pandemic forced workers to leave their offices and put distance between themselves and their co-workers, according to the Urban Institute,” NBC News said.

Osorio had been among Latino workers forced to dig into their minimal savings following their job losses. “At the beginning, I thought I could do this,” she told The Washington Post last month. Her husband Oscar, a construction worker, had taken only a small hit in lost work. “But two weeks became three and then four and now who knows when I can work again?” she said. “I cry, but never in front of them. I wait until they go to sleep and I’m alone.”

As the pandemic continued but work did not, she told NBC News that the family was among the thousands who lined up at a food bank in town, something that was completely new to them. “We didn’t have extra money but we were okay with my husband’s income and mine, we paid for the house and the bills,” she told NBC News. “When we went to the doctor, we paid. When we bought food, we paid.”

Due to their mixed immigration status, the family was among the millions denied stimulus relief. However, the Post reported that a small bit of much-needed help came via an anonymous act of kindness from an unknown person or persons: “The other day, a man called offering Andrea some work. And Oscar found an envelope stuffed with $240 in their mailbox. For the first time in April, the family had meat for dinner.”

This blog originally appeared at The Daily Kos on June 9, 2020. Reprinted with permission.

About the Author: Gabe Ortiz is a staff writer at Daily Kos focusing on immigration, LGBT, Latino issues.

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