Latinos are vital to Chicago and the metropolitan area's economy, despite accusations that they take more from US society than they contribute, said a new report Wednesday.
The University of Notre Dame's Institute for Latino Studies, published the second report in a series called "The State of Latino Chicago." This report looked at the economic contributions of Latinos in the Chicago-area economy, where they account for 22 percent of the population.
The new study examines the impact of Latinos on Chicago's economy and found that in 2009 they contributed an estimated $23 billion in consumer spending, and helped sustain 170,000 jobs.
"I was suspecting that Latinos were actually costing more than what they were contributing, and they were not," Prof. Carlos Guzman, the lead author of the report, told the Chicago Sun-Times.
The economic contributions of Latinos have become increasingly important, and according to the 2007 Economic Census Latinos, they own almost 56,000 businesses in the Chicago area with a revenue of $2.2 billion.
Latinos, along with African Americans, have suffered the highest numbers of unemployment between 2008 and 2009. Latino unemployment increased by 68 percent from 7.2 percent in 2008 to 12.1 percent in 2009, while whites experienced a 66 percent increase in unemployment from 2008, and Asians a 58 percent increase.
By 2015, the study says, Latinos will make up a quarter of the labor force, if the growth continues at the steady rate of 3.5 percent a year.