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How Hispanic immigration will help fuel job growth in South Florida over the next 20 years

Friday, 27 February 2015

The Hispanic population in the U.S. will have a significant impact on job growth over the next 20 years, and South Florida will play a key role in that job spurt, says a new national study.

Colorado-based international research firm IHS released "Hispanic Immigration and U.S. Economic Growth" on Tuesday. The report estimates that between 2020 and 2034, Hispanics will spur 75 percent of employment growth in the U.S. South Florida - where Hispanics make up a large share of the population and immigration from Latin American countries will remain strong - will help fuel that growth.

Over the next two decades, the number of foreign-born Hispanics in the U.S. is expected to grow from 22 million to over 29 million. Overall, U.S. population growth is expected to average 0.8 percent, but Hispanic population growth will average 2.1 percent.

Three factors could heighten the effect Hispanic migration has on employment growth in South Florida: the younger age of Hispanic workers compared to other groups, the significant percentage of Hispanics already living and working in South Florida, and the fact that construction, health services, and leisure and hospitality jobs are expected to increase - alls strong job-generating sectors in South Florida.

The region's younger Hispanic labor force generally means there is a smaller share of Hispanics rexiting the job market, the study indicates.

"What the report brings out is that there is such a higher incidence of retirement amongst non-Hispanics, that while there will be a lot of job opportunities for them in the coming years, it won't balance out," lead study author and IHS economist James Gillula said.

In South Florida, there is an atypical dynamic. "You're getting the baby boomers retiring there," he added.

South Florida as a whole projects slightly higher growth rates than the national average. In South Florida in 2013, the Hispanic population made up about 50 percent of the overall population, or 2.2 million of 4.5 million, Gillula said. He estimates that number has swelled to about 2.3 million by now.

With the expected growth rate, the Hispanic share of the population will be in the high 50's by 2034, Gillula said.

The study looked at U.S. Census Bureau and United Nations data and assumptions. The net migration rates from 10 Latin American countries and Puerto Rico also were considered. UN data revealed that for Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Honduras, and Peru, the U.S. is the top destination for immigrants.



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