Policy leaders discussed the new report on the economic potential of Minnesotans of Mexican origin at Concordia University on Friday, August 21, 2015. (See links to the report below). Senator Patricia Torres Ray led a policy conversation on the report. Participating in this conversation were prominent leaders from the community – Alberto Fierro Garza, Consul General of Mexico; Kevin Lindsey, Minnesota Commissioner for Human Rights, Alondra Cano, Minneapolis City Council, Hector Garcia, Minnesota Latino Affairs Council; Alberto Monserrate, NewPublica; Emilia Gonzales Avalos, Navigate Minnesota and Isabel Chanslor, Neighborhood Development Center. Also participating was Concordia University-St. Paul, President Tom Ries.
This report produced by Dr. Bruce Corrie, Professor of Economics at Concordia University-St. Paul, builds on an earlier report by the him titled, Ethnic Capital and Minnesota’s Future: People of Mexican Origin in Minnesota published in 2008 with funding from The Minneapolis Foundation.
The report (see below for copy and two page info-graphic summary) presents latest data on the economic contributions of that community, documents their impact on various sectors of the Minnesotan economy and presents economic contributions and opportunities of Minnesotans of Mexican origin.
Minnesotans of Mexican origin make significant economic contributions to Minnesota in the various roles they play in the economy – as consumers, workers, entrepreneurs, cultural assets and trade and global networks and as tax payers. Latest data shows the number of firms started by community entrepreneurs and their sales grew faster than the growth rate for the state overall. 5000 firms had $1.3 billion in sales, employed more than 5000 Minnesotans with $158 million in annual payroll.The community had $2.5 billion in consumer power, paid an estimated $239 million in state and local taxes and pumped almost $20 million monthly into the rental market in Minnesota.
At the same time during the time period since the earlier study (2007-13), coinciding with the housing crisis and economic recession, there was a significant economic squeeze experienced by this community reflected in declining home-ownership rates and income. The community is yet to recover from this crisis. Long term educational outcomes continue to be stagnant.
Minnesotans of Mexican origin have already contributed to the growth in Minnesota’s economy in significant ways, even during the economic downturn. This report suggests that investing in this community is critical for Minnesota’s future.
Particularly relevant is the demographic squeeze Minnesota is experiencing through the ageing of the population and an increasing number of people dependent on a shrinking workforce. The future quality of Minnesota’s workforce is going to be critical for its global competitiveness and domestic economic sustainability.
Policy Leaders called for action to grow the economic assets of the community. “We have to connect the economic contributions to the need to grow the economic assets of the community,” said Minneapolis Council Member, Alondra Cano on TPT Almanac later that evening.
“Minnesotans of Mexican origin are building the economy of Minnesota in significant ways. I will continue to work hard with policy leaders to build the economic assets of this important community,” said Senator Patricia Torres Ray.
The report presents an econometric study done in 2008 that showed that the workers from this community had a positive impact of at least $6 billion dollars on the Minnesotan economy. If just 2500 workers left the meatpacking industry, the economy would be hit by an earnings decline of at least $400 million with thousands of jobs lost throughout the economy.
Consul General Fierro brought a global dimension to the discussion and noted a very successful trade mission to Mexico led by Minnesota Governor Dayton. The report documents $2.2 billion in Minnesota exports to Mexico bringing increased wealth in Minnesotan businesses. Exports grew a phenomenal 237 percent during the period 2007-14.
Commissioner Lindsey who received the report on behalf of the Dayton Administration shared the work of Governor Dayton’s Diversity and Inclusion Commission, celebrated the economic contributions of the community to Minnesota and offered to integrate this information into various activities of the state.
“Minnesotans of Mexican origin are playing an important role in addressing a major demographic squeeze in Minnesota where there is an increasingly number of people dependent on a shrinking labor pool. The growth of workers from this community helps address that shortage. Further the population growth in this community will help Minnesota keep a congressional seat it stands to loose because of its declining population,” said Dr. Bruce Corrie. “There is the need to pay special attention to the academic success of children from the community currently in elementary and high school – they are Minnesota’s future.”
This research also points to the need to explore the experience of other immigrant and minority communities during and after the recent recession and housing crisis.
Report and Summary
Economic Potential of Minnesotans of Mexican Origin – Part 2 (Policy Leaders Response led by Senator Torres Ray)