diversification to combat the high unemployment rate among the state’s
Hispanic population. That’s the conclusion of a study from Brookings
Mountain West, a partnership between the University of Nevada-Las
Vegas (UNLV) and the Washington, D.C.-based Brookings Institution.
UNLV professor John Tuman, chairman of the Political Science
Department, said Hispanic unemployment surged from 6.5 percent to more
than 18 percent during the Great Recession. “We think most of this was
due to the contraction of employment in construction, and most of that
was in the residential construction sub-sector,” Tuman said.
The study showed that Nevada’s overall unemployment rate fell to just
under 10 percent in 2012, but the jobless rate among Hispanics
remained about 4 percent higher. Tuman noted that part of the
challenge is that Hispanics have tended to be over-represented in the
volatile residential construction sector, and also in the service
He said Nevada can look to Texas and other states that have
diversified their economies to help avoid massive job losses if a
particular industry is devastated by a downturn. Tuman added that
providing more educational opportunities would help people in that
industry transition into other careers. “Doing a better job of
educating people or providing additional job training, so that people
could take their skills and move into other sectors of the economy,
would be tremendously helpful,” he said. Prior to the Great Recession,
Nevada’s Hispanic unemployment rate was in line with the state’s
overall jobless rate, he added.
The report, “The Impact of the Great Recession on Nevada’s Latino
Community,” is available at www.unlv.edu.