The recession has slammed New Yorkers, especially working-class folks without a lot of savings to cushion the blow of sudden unemployment or a reduction in work hours.
Latino immigrants, who are predominately employed in the ailing construction, manufacturing and hospitality industries, are among the groups hardest hit by the downturn. A recent report by the Pew Hispanic Center in Washington found the unemployment rate for foreign-born Latinos rose over the past year, with about 35 percent of working-age people unemployed.
Behind the statistics are people, like the days laborers who congregate in the shadow of the elevated No. 7 line tracks in Jackson Heights. They aren’t only undocumented immigrants. Many have green cards and even U.S. passports. Some are college educated, and have spent decades in the United States.
Some are so frustrated by the lack of jobs, they’re planning to return to their home countries. Others believe the opportunities offered by the U.S. are still much greater than they would ever get at home.