Since 1968, this nation has officially observed the cultures and traditions of those, like me, who trace their heritage to Spain, Mexico and the Spanish-speaking nations of Central America, South America and the Caribbean. First recognized by President Lyndon Johnson and Congress with a week-long celebration, and now spanning September 15 to October 15, National Hispanic Heritage Month is a time to reflect on the contributions of the 57.5 million Hispanic Americans living here today, as well as our ancestors who paved the way. As a Hispanic woman, I am proud of my heritage and the contributions of the millions of hard working Hispanic-American men and women in our workforce.
The strength of the American economy is evident in this year’s Hispanic unemployment rate of 4.7 percent and the rise in Hispanic household median income, which exceeded $50,000. That’s a 17 percent increase since 2014. This is part and parcel with a strong U.S. economy, which continues to improve with job growth in 2018 averaging 207,000 jobs per month – dwarfing 2016 and 2017 (195,000 and 182,000 respectively). Since November 2016, 4 million new jobs have been created.
A vital part of our workforce is our nearly 4.4 million Hispanic American small business owners. Thanks to President Trump’s tax cuts and deregulation, this growing community is seeing renewed economic opportunity; exemplifying what can happen when we create an environment in which entrepreneurs and workers can succeed. Hispanics are two times more likely than the general population to start a business, and sales from Hispanic-owned businesses contribute $709 billion annually to the U.S. economy.
Maribel Rodriguez channeled her stay-at-home mom skills to address a severe lack of affordable and reliable childcare in Reading, Pennsylvania. Kutztown University’s Small Business Development Center Latino Business Resource Center helped develop her business acumen to open “The White House Day Care Center” – a 24/7 operation for children of working parents. Six years later, Community First Fund approved an SBA-backed loan allowing her to open a new around- the-clock facility for the more than 60 individuals on her waiting list. “The White House Day Care Center 2” soon opened, which is helping improve the area’s economic viability while providing care for area children no matter their parents’ schedules.
To help more Hispanic Americans like Maribel, the SBA is taking steps to increase outreach to this important audience. For example: we are pleased to offer Spanish-language videos at https://www.sba.gov/brand/videos/. The SBA is also translating marketing materials and our national Resource Guide into Spanish which will be available in the near future.
The Hispanic American business community has an entrepreneurial drive that is difficult to match and we will to continue to support them in their journey to achieve the American dream. As you go about your day, take a moment to observe how many products and services are the result of Hispanic-Americans. You may be surprised by what you learn.