2002 Hispanic-Owned Businesses News Conference
March 21, 2006
Remarks of Ronald N. Langston
Minority Business Development Agency
Good Morning. I’m Ron Langston, National Director of the Minority Business Development Agency and I am delighted to be here this morning with the U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
Thank you Tom and Valerie. Good to see you Michael.
Today’s news about the growth of Hispanic owned businesses give us all cause for celebration. It also validates that the entrepreneurial spirit that built this great country nearly 230 years ago is still alive and thriving.
In addition to the news put forth by the Census Bureau about Hispanic owned firms, our Nation is showing other signs of economic strength:
- The economy has been growing for 17 straight quarters
- The unemployment rate is 4.8 percent - lower than the average of the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s.
- The economy created 243,000 jobs in February and has created about 2.1 million jobs over the past 12 months - and almost 5 million since August 2003.
There is no question in my mind that a driving force behind America’s economy and our competitiveness is the 1.6 million Hispanic owned firms. These firms, alone, represent nearly 39% of all minority owned firms in the United States and employ 1.5 million people.
The Bush Administration believes that minority firms are critical to the overall success of the U.S. economy and that increased business ownership among minorities is a national priority.
That is why President Bush has pushed for tax relief over the last five years . . . tax relief that has put $880 billion back in the hands of American workers, investors, small businesses and families; . . . so they could use it to start and grow their businesses.
Not only are Hispanic owned firms growing at a much faster rate than the national average, but so are African American, Asian and other minority owned firms. Over 4.1 million minority owned firms are in the position to generate long-term employment and economic growth in their local neighborhoods, cities and states.
U.S. productivity has been growing at 3.5 percent for the last five years; and American workers are 17 percent more productive than they were in 2001. Minority owned firms, with combined total receipts of $694 billion, are a vital part of this story.
Increased productivity means America will continue to be competitive in the global marketplace and American workers will continue to enjoy a high standard of living.
Against this backdrop, we also continue to see the U.S. minority population expanding much more rapidly than the majority population. Minorities will account for 90% of the overall U.S. population growth between 2005 and 2050.
The growth in the U.S. labor force will also be realized by minorities and much of that will be fueled by immigrants. By 2050, 1 out of every 4 U.S. workers will be Hispanic. The United States will once again become a nation of immigrants. The difference will be that the immigration will be people of color.
Some fear this change. I say, let us embrace and welcome the change.
Clearly, the data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Survey of Business Owners documents the economic contributions of minority entrepreneurs.
America must continue to lead the world in competitiveness, innovation and creativity. Our greatest resource and advantage in the world has always been our educated, hard working, ambitious people and we are going to keep that edge.
But, if the national minority business enterprise community does not grow in size, scale, scope and capabilities, then we have failed in our mission. If the national minority business enterprise community is not generating wealth, America will not be prosperous.
The President’s goal is to keep the country strong by creating economic opportunities so the entrepreneurial spirit of the American people can flourish.
And with the full participation of all Americans, our future is even brighter than today.
On behalf of Secretary Carlos M. Gutierrez and President George W. Bush . . . . thank you.