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SmartAsset Study 2021: Fastest-Growing Jobs for Hispanic and Latino Americans

Hispanic and Latino Americans have seen some of the highest unemployment rates during the COVID-19 pandemic of any race and ethnic group for which the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports data. In the second quarter of 2020, the Hispanic and Latino unemployment rate was 16.7%, the highest unemployment rate in that period compared to that of white, Black and Asian Americans. More recently, in the second quarter of 2021, the Hispanic and Latino unemployment rate was 7.2% – 2.1 and 1.6 percentage points higher than the white and Asian unemployment rates, respectively, and 2 percentage points lower than the Black unemployment rate.

Despite high recent unemployment, total Hispanic and Latino employment grew by roughly 3% from 2016 to 2020, with some occupations seeing much larger spikes in employment from this demographic. In this study, we look at the fastest-growing jobs for Hispanic and Latino Americans. We use Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data to rank the four-year percentage growth by occupation from 2016 to 2020. For more information on our data or how we put together our findings, read our Data and Methodology section below.

This is SmartAsset’s second 2021 study on Hispanics and Latinos. Check out our study on where Hispanic and Latino Americans fare best economically here.  

Key Findings

  • Over the past four years, Hispanic and Latino employment more than doubled in 12 occupations. Certain jobs have seen huge increases in Hispanic and Latino employment, with the four-year percentage increase exceeding 100%. They include couriers & messengers, pest control workers, detective & criminal investigators, information security analysts, insurance underwriters, private detectives & investigators, firefighters, public relations specialists, nurse practitioners, logisticians, interviewers (except eligibility and loan) and physician assistants.
  • In two of the top 10 fastest-growing occupations for Hispanic and Latino Americans, Hispanic and Latino employment rose while overall employment shrunk. From 2016 to 2020, Hispanic and Latino employment as insurance underwriters and private detectives & investigators rose by 138% and 132%, respectively. However, overall employment declined slightly in both occupations over the same period. There were about 2,000 fewer insurance underwriters and roughly 4,000 fewer private detectives & investigators in 2020 than in 2016, representing percentage decreases of 2% and 4%, respectively.

1. Couriers and messengers

From 2016 to 2020, Hispanic and Latino employment as couriers and messengers more than tripled. The four-year percentage increase is 205%. This increase exceeds even the occupation’s overall robust growth (155%). As a result, Hispanic and Latino Americans constitute a larger percentage of couriers and messengers in 2020 than they did in 2016. In 2016, 19.3% of couriers and messengers were Hispanic and Latino, but 2020 BLS data shows that 23.1% couriers and messengers are Hispanic and Latino.

2. Pest control workers

In 2020, there were about 23,100 more Hispanic and Latino pest control workers in the U.S. than in 2016, up 200%. This outpaces the overall growth of the occupation by roughly 158 percentage points: Between 2016 and 2020, the occupation’s overall employment increase was just 42%.

3. Detectives and criminal investigators

In 2016, less than 8% of detective and criminal investigators in the U.S. were Hispanic and Latino. However, according to 2020 BLS data, that figure now stands at 17%. Over that four-year period, the number of Hispanic and Latino detectives and criminal investigators increased by 174%.

4. Information security analysts

Over the past four years, the number of Hispanic information security analysts grew by 173%. This outpaces the overall growth of the occupation by roughly 119 percentage points. Between 2016 and 2020, the overall occupation’s employment increase was 54%.

5. Insurance underwriters

As previously noted, total employment of insurance underwriters declined from 2016 to 2020 by about 2%. With total employment declining and Hispanic and Latino employment increasing, the proportion of Hispanic and Latino insurance underwriters saw a large increase, jumping from 4.9% to 11.9%.

6. Private detectives and investigators

From 2016 to 2020, the number of Hispanic and Latino private detectives and investigators grew from about 6,300 to roughly 14,600. This net increase of 8,300 Hispanic and Latino private detectives and investigators represents a 132% four-year percentage change.

7. Firefighters

Hispanic and Latino Americans are joining the occupation of firefighters. In 2016, there were a total of about 19,400 Hispanic and Latino firefighters in the U.S. By 2020, that figure was about 126% higher, at roughly 24,500.

8. Public relations specialists (tie)

The occupation of public relations specialists ties with nurse practitioners as the eighth-fastest-growing job for Hispanic and Latino Americans. From 2016 to 2020, the number of Hispanic and Latino Americans who work as public relations specialists grew by about 10,900. This represents a 123% four-year percentage increase in the employment of Hispanic and Latino public relations specialists.

8. Nurse practitioners (tie)

In our recent study, we found that the occupation of nurse practitioners is one of the most promising jobs for employment and pay. Though the percentage of Hispanic and Latino Americans working as nurse practitioners is relatively low, it is rising. From 2016 to 2020, the percentage of Hispanic and Latino Americans who work as nurse practitioners relative to all nurse practitioners rose from 3.5% to 6.3%. In total, Hispanic and Latino employment as nurse practitioners increased by 123%.

10. Logisticians

The occupation of logisticians – individuals who analyze and coordinate an organization’s supply chain – rounds out our list of the top 10 fastest-growing jobs for Hispanic and Latino Americans. The number of Hispanic and Latino logisticians increased by roughly 16,500 from 2016 to 2020. As a result, 2020 data shows that about one in five logisticians in the U.S. are Hispanic and Latino.

Data and Methodology

To find the fastest-growing jobs for Hispanic and Latino Americans, SmartAsset examined employment data from 2016 and 2020. We filtered out any occupation that employed fewer than 5,000 Hispanic and Latino Americans in 2016. We also filtered out any occupation with “other” or “miscellaneous” in the title due to lack of occupational specificity. To rank the occupations, we looked at the four-year percentage change in Hispanic and Latino Americans employed in each occupation from 2016 and 2020.

All data comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Data for both years are annual averages. Therefore, roughly nine months of the 2020 data account for employment changes resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Tips for Making a Successful Career Change

  • Figure out what you want. Before making the jump from one job to another, be sure to take stock of your goals and what it is you are hoping to get out of your career. By identifying whether the new job will further your career and how it will do so, you can see if it is the right time for a switch.
  • Do your research. Many of the fastest-growing jobs from women highlighted above have full details available on the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ website. You can find its Occupational Outlook Handbook here.
  • Seek out trusted personal finance advice. Whether you are switching jobs or going back to school, a financial advisor could help you make smarter financial decisions and set you on the right track for retirement. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with up to three financial advisors in your area, and you can interview your advisor matches at no cost to decide which one is right for you. If you’re ready to find an advisor who can help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.

Questions about our study? Contact us at press@smartasset.com

Photo credit: ©iStock.com/FG Trade

Stephanie Horan, CEPF® Stephanie Horan is a data journalist at SmartAsset. A Certified Educator of Personal Finance (CEPF®), she sources and analyzes data to write studies relating to a variety of topics including mortgage, retirement and budgeting. Before coming to SmartAsset, she worked as an analyst at an asset management firm. Stephanie graduated from Williams College with a degree in Mathematics. Originally from Philadelphia, she has always been a Yankees fan and currently lives in New York.
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