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Older Hispanics hit by high jobless rate

Marketplace Staff Nov 5, 2009
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Bill Radke: Hispanic workers over 50 were among the first to be laid off when the recession hit. Now the AARP is focusing attention on these so-called invisible boomers. It’s holding a forum on the issue today in Washington. Marketplace’s Nancy Marshall Genzer reports.


Nancy Marshall Genzer: The AARP has just released a report that says the unemployment rate for older Hispanic men has almost tripled since 2007. Richard Johnson of the Urban Institute wrote the report.

RICHARD JOHNSON: I think older Hispanics get hit with this double whammy. They sometimes face discrimination because of their ethnicity, and sometimes they face discrimination because of their age.

Fifty-one-year-old Ricardo Bonau worked as a pharmaceutical sales rep for 19 years, before losing his job about a year and a half ago. He came to the U.S. legally from Cuba, at age 4. Still, many would-be employers think he’s undocumented.

RICARDO BONAU: It’s funny, everybody thinks you came over on a boat or something, or you came here illegally.

But the AARP says older Hispanics may have some advantages. Most are bilingual. They’re a growing part of the workforce. And employers will need them to fill worker shortages expected in the near future.

In Washington, I’m Nancy Marshall Genzer for Marketplace.

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