Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen predicted on Tuesday that the economic crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic will affect Latinos more than other minorities in the country, although their businesses will lead the recovery.
“At the end of the day, it will probably still be true that the pandemic economy followed the historic trend and hit the Hispanic community harder than many other groups,” Yellen said, speaking at the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce’s annual virtual conference.
In that sense, she affirmed that if someone had designed an economic crisis that would have affected Latinos “excessively” it would have possibly resembled the COVID-19 pandemic.
“One in five Latino households still say they don’t have enough food to eat,” Yellen noted.
Still, she predicted that the country will return to full employment next year and that Latino-owned businesses will lead much of the recovery.
“Hispanic entrepreneurs can lead us out of a crisis again. I know Hispanic workers can power our recovery, potentially in an even bigger way than a decade ago, so long as we remove the longstanding barriers that have been in your way,” she said.
The Hispanic Chamber of Commerce represents more than 4.7 million Latino-owned businesses, which collectively contribute $800 billion annually to the U.S. economy.
The economic crisis resulting from covid-19 has particularly hurt Latino small businesses, which have had difficulty accessing federal loans and have done so at a much lower rate than other groups in the country.