Hispanics Hit Hard by Struggling Economy

LAS VEGAS -- With an unemployment rate near 14 percent in Las Vegas, it's not easy to find a job. The high unemployment has hit minorities especially hard.

Construction used to be the norm all over the Las Vegas valley and it created thousands of jobs. But now, it's stopped, and so have the jobs.

"I've been doing construction work for 25 years. I have been in the union but right now it's very slow, and very hard right," said Julio Turcios who is looking for work.

Turcios is from El Salvador and moved to Las Vegas for work. In some cases, he believes the job search for minorities is harder. "I think it's a little harder to be Latino."

The construction work that attracted many Hispanics to Las Vegas has dried up. Turcios hasn't received a call for work in months.

Otto Merida with the Latin Chamber of Commerce says two basic industries suffered through the recession -- construction and gaming -- hitting Hispanics hard.

"The backbone of industries, and they have been laid off because the lack of work," said Merida.

"A lot of people don't want to hire and if they are hiring, it's only part-time or temporary. We are trying to find something stable here," said James Moneteon. He is the father of one with a second on the way.

"It is everyone, but I believe it's a little harder on minorities because I have cousins calling me from California saying 'I can't find work.'"

Last year at this time, the Hispanic unemployment rate accounted for 20 percent of Nevada's unemployed. Now, unemployment for Nevada Hispanics has decreased slightly to 16.7 percent.


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