Things That Matter

Don’t Tell White Supremacists, But Latinos Are Going To Drive Most Of The US Economic Growth

If it hasn’t already been apparent that Latinos are a big force in the U.S. economy, a new study argues that the group is the future for gross domestic product (GDP) growth. According to the Latino Donor Collective U.S. Latino GDP Report, which was prepared by California Lutheran University, the study says the economic contribution of the U.S. Latino community will become increasingly vital moving forward to the economy.

The study says that the GDP among U.S. Latinos made huge leaps within the last decade, up from $1.7 trillion in 2010 to $2.3 trillion in 2017. On a compounded annual basis, that’s the third-highest growth rate among all global economies in that period. GDP among Latinos also grew at a faster rate than the overall U.S. economy during those eight years. This can be mainly attributed to high labor-force participation, large population growth and increasing consumer spending.

The reports highlight the strides and economic growth that Latinos have had in recent years. More importantly, it makes the argument of how vital this population group will be to continue moving the U.S. economy as a whole. “Latinos currently are and will increasingly become a critical foundation of support for the new American economy,” the study says.

It’s no surprise as the Latino population has made an immense impact on the U.S. as a whole in the last decade, whether its through education, socially and now economically.  

Credit: Unsplash

The study, which was released last month in concurrence with the L’Attitude conference in San Diego hosted by The National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals, argues why these advancements are now finally being seen by Latinos. This generation of Latinos is expected to make some of the biggest contributions in the coming decades due to being well-positioned than previous generations. 

During previous waves, most notably the during the ’50s and ’60s, U.S. Latinos were more likely to be immigrants who worked in low-wage jobs in positions like agriculture and construction, according to David Hayes-Bautista, director of the Center for the Study of Latino Health and Culture at UCLA and an author of the study. Now, as the population group has settled in and has made social advancements, the Latino workforce is expected to be very different.

As these generational gaps increase, so does the median age of Latinos in the U.S. which is currently 46 years old. While on the other hand, their children’s median age stands at 19. This essentially means that this forthcoming Latino demographic is set to enter a workforce more prepared, whether financially or educationally, than any previous one. That can be attributed to having access to better schools and being native English speakers. Latinos have also made huge leaps in the last decade when it comes to getting a bachelor’s degree as the number increased by 51% from 2010 to 2017, while the non-Latino educated population grew by 21 percent. 

“Given robust population growth, high labor force participation, rising incomes, and strong increases in educational attainment, we expect the significant growth premium enjoyed by U.S. Latinos to be maintained in the years ahead,” said Matthew Fienup, executive director of the Center for Economic Research and Forecasting at California Lutheran University and one of the authors of the study. 

One thing is for sure, any success that the U.S. economy is going to have in the near future can be attributed to the advancements of Latinos as well.

Credit: Unsplash

Latinos are contributing economically now more than ever and this growth will only continue as the population does. The Latino population in the U.S. is growing rapidly, which in return has increased the group’s economic role in the country. Between 2008 and 2018, the Latino share of the entire U.S. population grew from 16 percent to 18 percent. Latinos also accounted for about half (52 percent) of all U.S. population growth over this decade. 

With a bigger population group that also means more people at work. The U.S. Census Bureau estimates than Latinos will account for an additional 30 million workers that will enter the U.S. labor force by 2060.  

This is all amounting to even more growth, socially and economically, when it comes to U.S. Latinos. We can only imagine what impact the next generation of Latinos will have on this country and the strides our people will have along the way. 

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California Man Is Using His Culture To Create Hilarious And Super Relevant Mexican Greet Cards

Culture

California Man Is Using His Culture To Create Hilarious And Super Relevant Mexican Greet Cards

paper_tacos / Instagram

Jesus Ruvalcaba was an artist looking for more creative freedom in his life. Even after getting a job as an art director at eBay and Hewlett-Packard in Silicon Valley, the then 36-year-old felt complacent. It was a stop at a grocery store when he went to buy his mother a birthday card that a light bulb flashed in his head. 

“I looked at all these cards but couldn’t find something that resonated with my Latino culture,” Ruvalcaba said. “I felt that an entire population group was being ignored.”

That night planted the seeds of what would eventually become Paper Tacos, a greeting card business focusing on Mexican culture and traditions. From get well soon messages that read “sana sana colita de rana” ((heal, heal little frog) to birthday cards that read “sapo verde,” Ruvalcaba had tapped into a demographic that wasn’t typically represented in the greeting card business. 

“I knew I wasn’t the only one who felt like this,” he said. “This was more than just about a greeting card but seeing my culture being seen.” 

Ruvalcaba, the son of two Mexican immigrants, got most of his inspiration growing up in the Central Valley fields of California. He worked alongside his parents in the isolated artichoke fields where he learned to draw. 

Credit: Jesus Ruvalcaba / Paper Tacos

Ruvalcaba knew he wanted to be an artist at a young age and says growing up he would usually be found carrying around a sketchbook full of drawings. He didn’t grow up with much as his parents were Mexican immigrants who worked tirelessly as fieldworkers in the central California valley in cities like Castroville and later in Salinas. 

“My parents didn’t really know a lick of English so my drawings did a lot of the talking for me,” he says. “We didn’t have much growing up but they would buy me art supplies and always encouraged me to keep drawing.”

Those drawings would pave the way for a career in animation as Ruvalcaba became the first in his family to graduate college obtained a degree in graphic design at California State University Monterey Bay and eventually his Master’s degree. Shortly after, he would find himself in Silicon Valley working for companies like eBay and Hewlett-Packard as an art director. 

Ruvalcaba knew he could still do more with his talents. After attending a Dia de los Muertos art event in 2016, he met another artist selling Spanish prints with Mexican slogans. He was then reminded of that night at the market when he couldn’t find a Spanish greeting card for his mom. 

“It hit me right there and then that if I could come up with greeting cards that have Mexican sayings like “sana sana colita de rana,” I could tap into a market that was never really acknowledged prior.” Ruvalcaba said. 

After receiving encouragement from his girlfriend, Ruvalcaba put his illustration skills and graphic design experience to work as he produced his first set of 15 cards for 300 dollars. In Fall 2017, Paper Tacos became a reality. 

Credit: Jesus Ruvalcaba / Paper Tacos

About a year after the idea of Paper Tacos first came up, Ruvalcaba attended the same art festival from the year prior and sold his first greeting card for $5 apiece. The response to the cards was immediate and customers told Ruvalcaba about what it meant to see their culture on a product like this.

“It felt like my idea was validated in a way and seeing everyone respond so positively to Paper Tacos was just the cherry on top,” said Ruvalcaba. “From there it only got even bigger.”

In the following months of 2017, Paper Tacos made its launch and by the end of 2017, he had made $2,000 within just three months of launching his site. In 2018, he had made over $12,000 in sales and today has over 20K followers on Instagram alone. When he started the business, there were only 15 card designs which have now grown to over 100. He’s also branded outside of California and is currently selling his greeting cards at 25 stores throughout the country.

For Ruvalcaba, Paper Tacos hasn’t been just any business move or a little extra income revenue. It’s a tribute to his Mexican background and a reflection of his culture that he feels is being celebrated every time one of his cards is given. 

Credit: Jesus Ruvalcaba / Paper Tacos

When asked about where his inspiration for his greeting cards come from, Ruvalcaba says his parents. Those long days working along with them in the artichoke fields and holidays where all they had was each other. 

“Every card is a reflection of me growing up in a Mexican household and other people have connected with that,” said Ruvalcaba. “When I brainstorm ideas I just look back to my childhood.”

That connection is something special he says. While Ruvalcaba still has a full-time job as a designer in Santa Clara, if things keep going the way they are, Paper Tacos will become his main focus. 

Through Instagram, Ruvalcaba has begun working with more freelancers to keep growing Paper Tacos and get more artists opportunities. His business plan is to expand to other Latino backgrounds to work and reach out to Salvadoran and Nicaraguan artists so that they too can see representation.  

“This business has shown me how powerful this product can be and every time someone tells me the impact that these cards have had on a family member or a friend, it sticks with me,” Ruvalcaba says. “It’s a special thing to know a simple greeting card can do this.”

READ: Patty Delgado Is Changing The World Of Latino Fashion With Her Own Store Hija De Tu Madre

Mexico Is Increasing Minimum Wage By Record Levels But It’s Still Shockingly Too Low

Things That Matter

Mexico Is Increasing Minimum Wage By Record Levels But It’s Still Shockingly Too Low

@MexicoInsurance / Twitter

There’s been a lot of changes since Andrés Manuel López Obrador became president of Mexico, and not everyone would say the changes have been positive. Unfortunately, the situation in Mexico has gotten increasingly worse. There’s an increase in violence. The cartel seems to have continued their reign — and not just in the drug industry but in the farming one as well. However, there is some good news — sort of. 

Mexico’s president has announced they are increasing the minimum wage by 20 percent. 

This is the first time the government has made any changes to the minimum wage in 44 years. 

“We continue to gradually recover the value that the minimum salary has lost over time without creating instability, without creating inflation,” Lopez Obrador said, according to Reuters. “This is an important increase.”

While the increase is definitely welcomed, there are some issues. For starters, the wage hike means Mexicans will now be able to earn 123.22 pesos or $6.50 a day.

You read that correctly, not $6.50 an hour, but a day! That day rate feels incredibly low. The northern region of Mexico will see an increase of  5 percent to 185.56 pesos. Lawmakers were in talks to request a 29 percent increase. However, the concern is that while people need an increase in wages, the inflation rate has slowed down. 

Economists say that the increase could actually hurt Mexico’s economy in the long run because the wage increase doesn’t correlate with how their economy is doing. 

“In the past, real wage growth had been generally aligned with productivity,” economists at JPMorgan noted, according to Reuters. “The new wage policy has opened a significant wedge between the two, which eventually will likely create economic imbalances.”

But the president has urged since before his election that in order to see Mexico prosper and to keep violence down is to help the poor. 

“This is going to help the economy, of course, because it strengthens the internal market,” Lopez Obrador said, according to Time magazine. “If there’s more revenue, it helps reactivate the economy, there are more sales for merchants.”

Some also point out that if employers are forced to pay their workers at a higher rate than they’re expected to — while the economy isn’t at a good point, then they may have to fire some of their employees ultimately. 

No one is disputing that people in Mexico should be paid more, but the problem is, economically speaking, it will be a challenge for employers to increase their employees’ paychecks if the economy and inflation are not prospering. 

This is not the first time Lopez Obrador has increased the minimum wage. Last year he did so as well, but this time the increase is a lot more significant. 

Last year, President Donald Trump also raised concerns about Mexico’s low minimum wage standards, but not because he was looking out for the people of Mexico. He said the low wages would be an incentive for companies in the U.S. to move their laborforce to Mexico. Mexico’s minimum wage standard is low, but other Latin countries are pretty bad as well. 

According to the Tecma Group of Companies, “The minimum wage in Mexico is not only low when compared to its NAFTA trading partners, but is also low compared to workers’ wages in the other countries of Latin America. For instance, Mexico’s minimum wage is 44 percent of that of Brazil and is only 27 percent of what is paid to laborers in Argentina. In terms of a comparison with a country outside of the region, Mexico’s minimum wage represents only 16 percent of that of Spain.”

How this move will play out for Mexico remains to be seen. The increase goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2020. 

The shift in the economy, whether good or bad, will take some sort of shape after six months. If all goes well — in other words, if employers don’t fire their workers, and the economy grows — then perhaps the president by increase the minimum wage again. But we can’t imagine he would raise the minimum wage if the economy remains at this low point. 

READ: The Cartels In Mexico Are Taking Over The Avocado Industry By Any Means Necessary