Bloomberg Línea — The year was prodigal with stories highlighting the relevance the Latino and Hispanic communities are gaining everywhere.
Although misrepresentation of the 62-plus million Latinos in the US is seen in every corner —from corporate boards to intellectual life— the fact is that they make up 20% of this country’s population and contribute in a huge fashion to its GDP.
In fact, as some organizations point out, if Latinos there were a single country, they would be the 5th largest economy with a GDP of $2.8 trillion dollars.
Despite that, and the fact that the purchasing power and the contributions to the workforce and entrepreneurship by Latinos are a growing trend, this sector still faces many challenges that go from fighting discrimination to finding a solid presence in the political arena and to obtaining the tools to improve their lives.
At Bloomberg Línea we are aware of this and in that spirit, we launched Línea Latina, a section that features the economic and financial success as well as social challenges that this community faces in the continent.
Here are some of the top stories we had in 2022 on Línea Latina:
Contribution to society and economy:
- Where would US Latinos rank in terms of GDP if they represented only one country? How many jobs do they generate? How much and how do they consume?
In recent years, the Latino and Hispanic communities in the United States have become an economic and social force that has given the country a very dynamic imprint, influencing the entire sphere of national life.
From the fact that together they generate an economic output of $2.8 trillion (more than Brazil and Mexico combined) to the fact that they are one of the groups with the most dynamic consumer power, Latinos are seen as a force that moves markets and sets consumption and spending trends.
- Latinos represent the fastest-growing portion of the population in terms of contribution to US GDP, according to a study by McKinsey & Company.
Within the US economy, Latinos are the fastest-growing ethnic group in economic terms, according to a study by McKinsey & Company that analyzed the economic growth of that ethnic group in the country.
According to 2020 US Census data, Latinos in the US number 62.6 million, although only 23% consider themselves financially healthy. However, over the last 10 years, Latinos represent the fastest-growing portion of the population in terms of contribution to US GDP, and if they were to represent a country, they would be the third-fastest growing after India and China.
While in 1990, some 10.7 million Latinos were part of the US labor force, in 2020 that number had risen to 29 million, while for 2030 the number if expected to rise to 35.9 million, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.
This has a direct impact on households, where $1 billion was consumed in 2021, and which has grown annually by 6% over the past 10 years. Latino households tend to be larger in terms of the number of family members, compared to the US average.
- The year’s mid-term elections in the US have resulted in a series of firsts, making the country’s politicians more representative of the people they serve.
More women than ever ran for US governor, more Black women ran for Congress, and more LGBTQ people vied for a spot in the House of Representatives or Senate. As the results come in, many of those people are projected to win their races. They’re not only making history, but making the country’s governing bodies more representative of the people they serve.
Congress and governor’s houses have become more diverse in recent years, albeit slowly. The nation’s highest elected officials still skew White and male — even as the country becomes more racially and ethnically diverse.
- The Biden Administration says recent increases in the Fed’s rates will help the US curb inflation and avoid a recession; still, Latino households could resent higher prices, fewer credits, and fewer jobs.
As the Biden Administration put it: the rate hikes by the Federal Reserve must serve their part in curbing price increases that are affecting the economy. This measure has two main objectives: to help the US economy “transition to stable and steady growth, and to bring inflation down,” White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said.
According to Bloomberg News, the US central bank raised rates by 75 basis points on Wednesday to a range of 3.75% to 4%, the highest level since 2008, as it extends its most aggressive tightening campaign since the 1980s.
In tune with the latest rate hikes, inflation in the US has slowed down in recent months. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, annual inflation in September was 8.2%, the lowest in seven months, compared to 8.3% in August and 8.5% in July.
- Almost two out of every 10 jobs in the United States is occupied by a Latino, but their representation is more scarce in science and the media.
Eighteen percent of the US labor force is Latino or Hispanic, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics for 2021, collected by financial analysts of migrant information site Créditos en USA.
However, as has been the case for some time, the professions in which Latinos have a presence are mostly in trades related to construction and cleaning or domestic employment.
More than eight million workers (38.9%) in construction are Hispanic Americans, although the largest percentage (72.5%) is found in tasks such as drywall and lighting installation, where a total of 155,000 people work.
In turn, Hispanic and Latino workers made up 40.5% of hairdressers in 2021 and 38.7% of translators and interpreters in the US.
- Juan Angustia talks to Bloomberg Línea about how limitations cannot be an obstacle to attaining the experiences we desire.
Mandatory lockdowns and limited mobility during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020 accelerated the use of video calls, and which became a vital tool for business meetings, for companies to maintain a smooth flow of operations, and for families to stay connected.
All video conferencing applications experienced exponential growth during the pandemic. According a Statista compilation of data, the most downloaded video calling and virtual meeting apps during 2020 were Zoom and Google Meet.
In Spain alone, Google Meet saw nearly 5.3 million downloads in 2020, according to data compiled by Statista.
Behind the user experience of Google’s video calls is product designer Juan Carlos Angustia, a native of the Dominican Republic, and who is one of those responsible for the operation, optimization and aesthetics of the product’s updates.
- Having more Latino talent working in front of—and behind the camera—directly impacts a TV show’s viewership within that community, according to a study from the ratings giant Nielsen.
In its report, Nielsen researchers analyzed 530 of the most-streamed programs in the US between 2021 and the first quarter of 2022. In shows where more than 19% of the on-camera talent was Hispanic or Latino, which corresponds to the group’s share of the US population, viewers were at least one-third Hispanic or Latino. They also looked at programs with a smaller number of Latinos on screen and found viewership amounted to 30%—if there were Hispanics working behind the camera.
- Between January and June of this year, 398 Dominican baseball players were signed by MLB teams on contracts worth a total $73 million.
Twelve-year-old Salvador knows very well what he wants to be when he grows up: a baseball player, and play in the Major League Baseball.
Like many Dominicans, Salvador (whose name we have changed for legal reasons as he is a minor) has been practicing baseball since he learned to walk, and trains every day in a bid to fulfill his dream.
He has a coach and attends a private academy where, in addition to training, he receives schooling, meals, healthcare, clothing and footwear, all under an agreement that stipulates the forfeit of a percentage of his possible future contract, anticipating that, if he is lucky, in about three or four years’ time he will be signed by a Major League Baseball team.
- A US citizen born of Mexican parents, Marcos González talks to Bloomberg Línea about how his venture capital fund aims to invest in “creative, capable and innovative” Latino entrepreneurs.
Despite having pursued a multifaceted professional career, Marcos González felt he was not having a real impact on society. The US citizen of Mexican parents has been an entrepreneur, a high-level manager and a key player in an investment fund, but he wanted more, and came up with the idea of creating Vamos Ventures, a venture capital fund focused on the Latino community in the US.
González decided to invest in “a human asset that has a lot of value, that is very capable and that other investors don’t know about,’’ he told Bloomberg Línea about how he targets Latinos.
When he launched the fund in 2016, his goal was to raise $25 million, but he doubled his expectations and raised $50 million, an amount that is already in the process of being invested in Latino entrepreneurs, some of whom are immigrants.
- From Stranger Things to The Devil Wears Prada: Brazilian Ba Minuzzi runs a multi-family office that helps celebrities and athletes invest their wealth
With nearly a decade of venture capital experience, Barbara (Ba) Minuzzi is the founder and CEO of UMANA, a US-based multi-family office that aims to help celebrities and athletes invest in companies.
From Porto Alegre, in the South of Brazil, Minuzzi worked her way up to making enough connections in the US to build her asset management company, which now has $370 million of assets under management.
Today, she manages the family office of Adrian Grenier, known for his role in The Devil Wears Prada, and Noah Schnapp, who became known for playing Will Byers in Stranger Things, as well as other celebrities and athletes who have fortunes between $10 million and $300 million.
- Colombia’s Progeny Coffee, founded by María José Palacio, is being sipped at desks in the offices of Google, Meta, LinkedIn and Twitter, as well as in the cafeterias of luxury brands such as Louis Vuitton.
Rarely does Colombian coffee have such a major global showcase as the Emmy Awards, in whose most recent edition Colombian María José Palacio was selected to tell her story and that of her business with a short film, the extended edition of which will be presented at the Sundance Festival.
Palacio, born in Colombia’s coffee-growing belt, is the young entrepreneur behind the brand of coffee being enjoyed by employees of big tech companies such as Google, Meta (Facebook), LinkedIn, Twitter and Salesforce, among others, as well as in the coffee shops of luxury brands such as Louis Vuitton and Tory Burch.
“When we started they told us that it was impossible to open a company only selling Colombian coffee, that because the country only produces a single type. And we said: ‘No, Colombia produces all the varieties that you can find worldwide, it is produced in Huila, in Nariño,” Palacio said in an interview with Bloomberg Linea.
- Sandra Velásquez gave up a music career to launch a brand of natural hygiene products made from the nopal cactus, and who is seeking to compete with international brands.
During the pandemic lockdown, Sandra Velásquez dreamed up Nopalera, a Mexican line of luxury botanical bath and body products that in less than two years has positioned itself among Latino consumers in the United States and has secured retail partnerships with stores such as Nordstroms, Credo Beauty and Whole Foods.
Sandra Velásquez traded her music, which mixed cumbia and rock in Spanish, for entrepreneurship. After singing and playing with her band Pistolera on big stages and opening concerts for artists such as Los Lobos and Lila Downs, in 2019 she decided to venture into entrepreneurship in a country where Latino entrepreneurship is less visible than that with Anglo-Saxon surnames.
The entrepreneur, originally from San Diego, California, came up with the business idea after spending a summer with her daughter trying to learn how to make soaps and natural products on YouTube.
- Mennlay Golokeh Aggrey is part of a generation that has seen marijuana transformed from a prime target of the war on drugs to the darling of venture capital firms.
Two decades ago, when Aggrey started a small grow operation in San Francisco’s affluent Twin Peaks neighborhood, a neighbor forced her to shut it down. “I just personally didn’t come from a place where I had someone to bail me out if I were to be raided,” says Aggrey, who was born in the US to parents who had immigrated from West Africa.
Today, Aggrey lives in Mexico City where, with cannabis researcher and advocate Karina Primelles, she runs Xula, which uses cannabinoids to make products that address a range of health issues. This year, the company launched a line of CBD-only tinctures called Solo Hemp in the U.S. to support a variety of needs including relaxation, pain relief, and gut health.
- Now retired, David Ortiz is looking to become a ‘big hitter’ in Latin America’s growing cannabis industry.
Just days away from being inducted into the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame, Dominican Republic-born David Ortiz, aka ‘Big Papi’, has announced the launch of a line of cannabis products in partnership with Rev Brands, and using products of Dominican origin, in association with the brand Rev, a wholesale cannabis supplier.
‘Papi Sweet Slugger’ is the first in a series of products to be launched, Rev CEO Keith Cooper told Bloomberg Radio.
Cooper explained that the first product is a marijuana joint wrapped in fake tobacco paper.
The second product s a sports recovery balm, which athletes can use to rub on their joints and muscles after exercise, while the third product is still “a bit of a secret”, Cooper said, and part of which will be developed in the Dominican Republic.
Investing and Crypto:
- The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) ordered the shutdown of the Texas firm CryptoFX for a Ponzi scheme to defraud Latino investors in the country.
The SEC says that CryptoFX began holding paid classes allegedly seeking “educating and empowering the Latino community to build wealth through crypto asset trading”.
Regulators said that since 2020 CryptoFX founders, Mauricio Chávez and Giorgio Benvenutto, targeted investors with no background, education, or training in investments or crypto assets.
A Court issued, at the SEC’s request, a temporary restraining order halting CryptoFX’s offerings as well as temporary orders freezing assets.
- Latinos and Hispanics in the US are among those who have shown the most progress in the number of millionaires in the country, but they are also among those who invest the least in equity.
Hispanics and Latinos in the US face a peculiar situation: although they represent a huge market of $1,7 trillion in terms of purchasing power and showed a big increase in wealth in the last year, they are a community poorly invested in equity or financial vehicles, several reports have shown.
According to Credit-Suisse’s latest global wealth report, Hispanic households in the US saw the second largest increase in wealth thanks to advances in their non-financial assets.
The bank says Hispanic families increased their wealth by almost 20% (19.9%) in 2021 (second only to African American households (22.2%).
In terms of wealth differences by race, Credit-Suisse said in its 2022 Global Wealth Report that in the US these tend to be very large. The study reviews a Survey of Consumer Finance (released in 2019 by the Fed), revealing that “the median wealth of African Americans was just 12.8% of non-Hispanic Caucasians’ median wealth, and the median for Hispanics was only 19.2%.”
In terms of income, Credit-Suisse says, “the corresponding ratios were 58.4% for African Americans and 59.0% for Hispanics.”
- Produced and bottled in Mexico, the sotol brand will launch in the US with plans for global distribution, Pernod Ricard said.
French drinks maker Pernod Ricard SA will launch a new brand of sotol liquor backed by rock star Lenny Kravitz to target rising demand for Mexican spirits.
Pernod said the product, to be made in collaboration with Mexican distiller Casa Lumbre, will be called Nocheluna Sotol and aim for an “ultra-premium” category. Kravitz, an actor and designer as well as a musician, will promote the brand.
- The country’s lax Covid-19 restrictions during the height of the pandemic attracted thirsty and well-heeled customers. When many cocktail bars closed, Mexico City’s stayed open.
Mexico City’s bars have become unexpected stars on the world stage.
The capital city took four spots on the World’s 50 Best Bars list — including three of the top 15, more than any other city except Barcelona. Some might have been surprised, but Mexico City’s bar owners and managers saw it coming. After all, this world-class bar scene wasn’t built in a day — more like a decade.
Mexico’s singular agave spirits and regional ingredients are the foundation of its bartenders’ success. There’s also the spillover business from the city’s restaurants, which have become international culinary destinations in their own right. The pandemic, however, was what brought an international spotlight.
The country’s lax Covid-19 restrictions during the height of the pandemic attracted thirsty and well-heeled customers. When many cocktail bars closed, Mexico City’s stayed open.
- The net worth of some of those nominated for awards and attending the gala is around $300 million.
The 23rd annual Latin Grammy Awards, also known as the Latin Grammys, the most important awards in the Spanish-language music industry, will be announced Thursday, and as has been the case in recent editions, the nominees include established and long-standing artists, combined with the great urban music stars of the last decade.
And among the established artists are some who have several millions in their bank accounts: fortunes of up to $300 million can be seen.
Bloomberg Línea presents a ranking of the richest artists among those who will participate in Thursday’s Latin Grammy 2022 ceremony, either as nominees, guests or presenters, based on information from Celebrity Net Worth.