BofA study: Latinos are main reason N.J. population, workforce has continued to grow

The 2021 New Jersey Latino GDP Report released by Bank of America on Thursday spelled out the significant impact Latinos have on the Gross Domestic Product of the state and the country.

The impact, however, goes deeper than that. The study showed Latinos are making strong and consistent contributions to New Jersey’s population and labor force.

According to a report from the Center for the Study of Latino Health and Culture at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA — which looked deeply at New Jersey and seven other key states — if it were it not for Latinos, both the population and the labor force of New Jersey would have contracted from 2010-18.

During that time, Latinos added an average of 37,500 people per year to the state’s population, while the population of non-Latinos shrank by an average of 17,500 people per year.

During that same time, the number of Latinos in the labor force increased by an average of 18,500 workers per year, while the number of non-Latinos shrank by an average of 7,500 workers per year.

The study stressed that the growing importance of labor force growth cannot be overstated.

According to Federal Reserve economists, the number of people retiring in the U.S. is forecast to increase substantially over the next year, peaking in 2022 at close to 350,000 mostly non-Latino baby boomers retiring each month. This dangerous shortage of workers is a demographic crisis that threatens the country’s ability to maintain even modest economic growth.

Latinos appear to be on their way to mitigating this demographic disaster, adding substantial numbers to the population of working age adults and to the labor force, the report’s authors said.

The economic contribution of Latinos in New Jersey, as with U.S. Latinos broadly, is driven by rapid gains in human capital, the study said.

In New Jersey, from 2010-18, Latino educational attainment grew at a rate 3.3 times faster than the educational attainment of non-Latinos. Over those nine years, the Latino labor force participation rate was an average of 5.2 percentage points higher than non-Latinos. In 2018, Latino labor force participation was a full 5.4 percentage points higher.