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Latino Job Loss in the Last Few Months of the Covid-19 Pandemic

El Paso News - Wed, 05/27/2020 - 12:45pm
By Rogelio Sáenz, Professor, Department of Demography, University of Texas at San Antonio Below you will find the link to my latest monthly blog which I write for the National Association for Latino Community Asset Builders (NALCAB).  The analysis examines employment loss among Latinos throughout the country. The analysis shows that the pandemic has really… Read More Latino Job Loss in the Last Few Months of the Covid-19 Pandemic
Categories: Local Blogs

America Launches Its First Spaceship in Years

EPN - Border Analysis - Tue, 05/26/2020 - 10:00pm
If everything goes according to plan today, the United States will launch its first spacecraft in almost a decade. Humanity has had eight spacecraft in total. The first was launched in 1961. If SpaceX succeeds in launching its Dragon capsule today, it will bring the total spacecraft to nine. The launch is scheduled for 4:32pm,… Read More America Launches Its First Spaceship in Years
Categories: Local Blogs

Texas Democrat Convention Election Results

El Paso News - Tue, 05/26/2020 - 5:00am
Last week, the Texas Democratic Party held elections for several offices in the runup to the November national elections. Because of Covid-19 concerns, the convention and the votes were held virtually. El Paso, which is in SD 29, elected several party stalwarts. Among several known candidates was Jaime Abeytia, a party operative with a criminal… Read More Texas Democrat Convention Election Results
Categories: Local Blogs

Bankruptcies Make Bodes Worse For Unemployment Numbers

EPN - Border Analysis - Mon, 05/25/2020 - 10:00pm
As America nears the all-time high unemployment rate of 20% for May, the numerous bankruptcies indicate that unemployment is worse than most believe. Next week the unemployment numbers for May will be released. Many expect the rate to be over 20%. The problem with the unemployment numbers is that they count workers who qualify for… Read More Bankruptcies Make Bodes Worse For Unemployment Numbers
Categories: Local Blogs

A quiet Memorial Day 2020

El Paso News - Mon, 05/25/2020 - 10:02am
Memorial Day is the day that we stop, just for a moment, and honor those men and women that have made the ultimate sacrifice for us to enjoy the freedoms that we have today and to remember those that have passed during the past year. This Memorial Day will be a quiet day of remembrances… Read More A quiet Memorial Day 2020
Categories: Local Blogs

Visualizing Covid-19 Global Cases and Mortality

EPN - Border Analysis - Sun, 05/24/2020 - 10:00pm
Over the last few weeks I have been producing visuals of the Covid-19 pandemic. The infographics are designed to provide complex information in an easy to digest format. The news media leads with the number of cases and deaths without giving consumers context as to what the number mean. The following are two are my… Read More Visualizing Covid-19 Global Cases and Mortality
Categories: Local Blogs

RumpToons No: 185

EPN - Border Analysis - Sat, 05/23/2020 - 10:00pm
I hope you enjoy RumpToons No: 185!
Categories: Local Blogs

Victoria Almaguer – Taking coronavirus lifestyle changes day by day

Borderzine - Sat, 05/23/2020 - 1:28pm

During this pandemic, we have seen how businesses have been affected and the livedsof many have changed. Although there have been stressful times, this time of social distancing has helped me learn to take each day step-by-step.

For me, this has been a time to adapt to unemployment, going to school online and cooking at home.

Becoming a chef

Cooking has become such a stress reliever and it has become such a blessing for my family. Fast food was such a ritual but now cooking at home feels more right and safe.

Cooking has become such a stress reliever and it has become such a blessing for my family. Fast food was our main ritual, but now cooking at home feels more right and safe. By searching online recipes our meals have become more fun and more health oriented. With everyone pitching in, we have had cook offs, competitions and fancy dinners. Here we have a veggie pizza made by my sister. We each created a pizza with different toppings and each enjoyed our homemade pizza. As we continue to be quarantined, we have tried to make things a bit fun.

Home projects

Being isolated from the world does not mean that big home projects must stop. Plans to change the color of our house had been put off for a long time, but staying at home has given us the time for all to participate in the project. By taking shifts through the week, we finished painting the house and moved on to smaller things to renovate our home.

Babysitting

This pandemic has actually given me the time to spend with my eight month old niece. Before, I was working two jobs plus being a full-time student rarely gave me the time but now I am trying to enjoy this availability as much as I can.

This pandemic has actually given me the time to spend with my eight month old niece. Before, with two jobs and being a full-time student, I rarely had time. But now I am trying to enjoy this availability as much as I can. We spend the day reading Brown Bear, Brown Bear What do you see? and practicing how to crawl. As my sister and her family lives with us, this has given me the opportunity to enjoy her a bit more. Although her teething has resulted into late nights due to her crying, it is still a fun time to have. I am genuinely enjoying my time as an aunt.

Friendship During Pandemic

As the pandemic has enabled people to be cautious about leaving home, it has become essential for many to keep frienships thriving thorugh sotial media and other mediums.

People now have to be cautious about leaving home due to the virus. It has become essential for many to keep friendships thriving through social media and other mediums. For my friends and I, Zoom meetings have become a must. Every Monday and Saturday night, we discuss school, life, and movies. Although we miss each others company, these calls make this lockdown bearable. Zoom has become our safe haven.

School online

When registering for this Spring semester, thr thought of being online was never a thought. Transitioning to having all classes online has been a struggle but we continue to adapt as this virus continues to spread.

When registering for this spring semester, I knew that I would be going into difficult courses, but being online has actually increased this difficulty. Transitioning to having all classes online has been a struggle as family time has been adapted and organization has been key, but we continue to adapt as this virus continues to spread. At the beginning of the semester, I didn’t really have a specific place to study or do homework. The only quiet places available for me were the campus library and the Student Publications Office. Now, the nursery has been revamped into a studio and has given me the space to go online for my classes and study.

Categories: Local Blogs

Surviving lockdown at home: How to avoid drama with your family

Borderzine - Sat, 05/23/2020 - 12:44pm

Being stuck in a house with five other people isolating together during the pandemic can be stressful. But there is a secret recipe for success. Here are six tips on how to keep harmony in your home.

1. Divide and conquer

Cleaning schedule. Each week, it is one person’s duty to mantain the house clean.

There are six people living in my house, which means the house gets dirty every single second. It is important to keep the house clean, especially during these anxious times. A piece of good advice is to divide the housework between the people living there and rotate chores each week. That way, each member of the family will know the struggles of each duty.

2. Living in a family isn’t the same as living with roomies

Our fridge is crowded, but it becomes empty quite fast.

My family set up some rules that basically make us a hippie commune when it comes to food. If anyone buys something and it is in the fridge, it means anyone can eat it. (of course there are exceptions). We make a list of groceries and we divide the expenses. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose.

3. Solitude is bliss

Our home has always had an open door policy. However, sometimes the doors are closed for a bit. This means not to disrupt.

Sometimes we enjoy spending time together, playing board games, or watching a movie. There are also times where the house seems quiet and empty – and that is OK. Sometimes we will just go into our rooms and have some alone time, watch Netflix, read a book, etc.

4.The home office is closed after 5:00 p.m.

The dining table becomes the desk for each one of our home office. After 5, we have to clean everything up.

Our home office is in the dining room. It is where we all sit and work. Sometimes we listen to music, sometimes we even talk. But after five o’clock our home’s common areas are for leisure. If someone has to work after hours, they will do so in another room. Not the dining room.

5. Weekends are for partying

While we try to eat clean throughout the week, weekends is when we get to open up a beer and enjoy some chips.

Even though we cannot leave the house, we still celebrate the weekends. Each Friday night we make a toast to our health and the fact that we are holding on. Saturdays and Sundays we try to switch up the routine by ordering takeout, dancing or other fun activities. This marks the difference between a weekday and the weekend. After a few weeks at home, I finally started feeling excited when it’s Friday.

6. Patience is a virtue

The house is messy at times, but we are trying our best to keep it clean. Sometimes someone forgets to clean up the sink, but this shoudl not cause a fight.

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Finally, PATIENCE. It is easy to become annoyed by things others in your household do if you are with them 24/7. But remember it is temporary. Sometimes it is good to let things go and to forgive some small mistakes or errors someone may make. I no longer get mad if someone forgets to wash a spoon or change the toilet paper roll. I just go ahead and do it myself, because I can. Everything with moderation, of course. This has helped me stress less and definitely fight less.

Categories: Local Blogs

Dramatic job losses for young people, women expose El Paso’s economic strategy challenges

Borderzine - Sat, 05/23/2020 - 11:52am

Daniella Perez, a 22-year-old waitress and UTEP student, lost her job when restaurants closed in mid-March as COVID-19 began spreading through El Paso.

“Honestly I’m still kind of in shock. I can’t believe this whole thing. I have been trying to look for more income, but I’m scared because I live with my Mom,” Perez said.

This first wave of COVID-19 job losses led more than 50,000 people in the El Paso area to file unemployment claims between March 1 and May 1, according to data from Workforce Solutions Borderplex. The job losses disproportionately impacted young women like Perez.

Women accounted for less than 47 percent of El Paso job holders, yet made up 51 percent of new unemployment claims. And while people under age 25 held fewer than 10 percent of jobs in El Paso, they made up almost 24 percent of those filing for unemployment. Women also have borne a higher rate of job losses than men across the country.

“This economic crisis is very different from other crises that have occurred, like the downturn of 2008 — that mostly affected men, because men make higher incomes,” said Sylvia Acosta, CEO of the YWCA of the El Paso del Norte Region, which focuses on the status of women in the community. “COVID-19 has impacted people at every level, but particularly people at the lower income level. And women tend to work in positions that are lower paid and are also very customer service oriented.”

The COVID-19 jobless crisis has again highlighted El Paso’s employment structure, which pays wages well below other regional cities and relies heavily on hospitality and retail jobs. Women make up the majority of employees in those sectors in El Paso, and they were the hardest hit in the initial closures caused by COVID-19.

“There are a lot of women in the service industry. I guess it’s more aesthetically pleasing to have a woman behind the bar?” said Carleigh Hernandez, a 27-year-old bartender at Neon Rose in Central El Paso. “I’ve always seen that, or you have men who are barbacks but they’re not really front of the line. It’s easier to bring in more money if you’re a woman.”

Carleigh Hernandez worked as a bartender at Neon Rose before being laid off in March. (Photo courtesy of Carleigh Hernandez)

Hernandez, who was a waitress before becoming a bartender, said gender norms influence tip-based work. “You have to bite your tongue a lot of the time, especially with waitressing. You gotta put on a smile. As a woman it’s a little tough sometimes, especially with men, because a lot of the time they just think they can do whatever they want, and talk to you the way that they want. And it makes you really uncomfortable.”

Rethinking economic development strategy

Before the pandemic hit, 24 percent of all El Paso jobs were in retail trade (clothing stores, groceries, etc.)  and leisure and hospitality (bars, restaurants, hotels, etc.), according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Nationally, about 21 percent of jobs were in those sectors, which were among the hardest hit by COVID-19 closures.

“We’ve put a lot of effort into target industries and there’s been a lot of effort into retail and those types of amenities for the community, which is fine. But the data is showing that occupations in those industries are the most hurt,” said Leila Melendez, CEO of Workforce Solutions Borderplex, which helps employers finding employees and trains workers in workplace skills.

Even as service industry jobs come back, workers are taking a significant hit in terms of diminished hours and lost wages. Fabiola Mendez, a single mother of three kids and waitress at a restaurant in El Paso’s West Side, has seen a major reduction in tips and hours since coming back to work.

“I went back to work last Friday and the pay is the same, $2.15 (per hour) plus tips, but the tips aren’t great because people don’t realize we’re making so little. My family can’t live off that, working just two days a week,” she said. In Texas, the minimum wage generally is $7.25 an hour but is set at $2.13 an hour for workers who receive tips.

Mendez had been working five days a week before the COVID-19 pandemic, and used to make $200 per shift on a good night. This past weekend she made only $18 in tips during one six hour shift.

El Paso, like most communities, has focused economic development strategies on growing and attracting specific industries viewed as a good match for the local economy. But Melendez has been saying that El Paso should broaden its focus in a way that places a priority on increasing wage levels. The impacts of the pandemic reinforce that need, she said.

Leila Melendez is CEO of Workforce Solutions Borderplex. (Photo courtesy of Workforce Solutions Borderplex)

“Our strategy now looking forward is how do we focus our training and our systems and our vision and everything into occupations versus industry,” Melendez said.

For example, many of the people who lost jobs as the pandemic set in were college students working in the hospitality or retail industries. “We need to hire these post-secondary students in the fields that they’re studying and not hire them just at the grocery store or at the mall. We need to be hiring them, even if it’s just for a few hours, in a small business, in a medium-sized business, in accounts payable, in (information technology),” Melendez said.

She said local governments should prioritize certain higher-paying occupations when creating incentive packages for businesses looking to expand in or move to El Paso.

“A company has a staffing table. So then you look at all of the different jobs that they’re going to create and hire, and then you can really categorize those types of jobs and say these jobs that are in, let’s say, STEM or in advanced occupations, those are the ones that we will incentivize more,” Melendez said.

Higher-paying jobs don’t all require college degrees, she said. Many require advanced training or a certificate that are in the reach of El Pasoans who have completed high school.

 

El Paso’s economic development challenges are often described as a chicken vs. egg problem. Many higher paying jobs require higher skill levels, but many El Pasoans with college degrees or advanced skill training leave El Paso in search of better paying jobs. Melendez comes down clearly on one side of this discussion.

“We grow our eggs and they leave because we don’t pay them enough here,” she said.

One lesson from the pandemic is that El Paso will have to re-examine its economic and workforce development plans, Melendez and Acosta of the YWCA said.

Child care challenges

A major concern for working women in El Paso has long been the availability of child care.

“Since the virus started, the main thing that has affected me has been the day care closing, because I have three kids. one is 10, one is 8, and my little girl is 5,” Mendez said. Now that Mendez’s restaurant is reopening, she’s scrambling to figure out child care for her kids.

A woman losing her job in El Paso creates ripple effects, Acosta said.

“Not only are they taking care of children, but they’re also in many cases taking care of their parents. And so when there is an economic disaster like the one that we’re currently living through, it doesn’t just affect the woman. It affects several generations, the next generation, which is her children, and the previous generation, her parents,” she said.

Sylvia Acosta is CEO of the YWCA El Paso del Norte Region. (Photo courtesy of YWCA)

Acosta said one of her staff members recently went to a fast-food restaurant and noticed three children outside the restaurant.

“The woman that was giving her the food said, ‘Don’t say anything but that’s one of our employees’ children. But she has nobody to leave them with and she can’t leave them with her parents because they’re older and she’s afraid of getting them sick.’” Acosta said.

The YWCA employee helped connect the woman to child-care services available for essential workers, Acosta said. But she said other families often aren’t aware of available services, and because child care availability has declined due to COVID-19.

Acosta said “economic recovery is not possible without adequate child care.” But many child-care providers were forced to close temporarily as COVID-19 spread. “And I will tell you that many of them will probably not survive this pandemic,” she said.

Before the pandemic, YWCA child- care facilities served 2,500 children a day. That’s now down to 250 a day. “The financial ramifications of this pandemic have hit nonprofits really hard because of the reduction of revenues that we’ve experienced since March,” Acosta said.

“I think the YWCA is large enough that we’ll be able to survive this. We’ll weather this storm. It’ll be very painful, but we’ll weather it. But other child cares may not. And people depend on child cares,” she said.

A decline in available child care will put more El Paso families in a tenuous position, Acosta said. “If I don’t want to send my daughter to child care, I don’t have to because I can afford not to, I can work from home. But if a grocery store worker or a housekeeper, or an LVN or somebody who works in a hospital, they have to go to work. They don’t have that option.”

As businesses reopen, workers may find themselves in a difficult position of choosing between safety and income, one that is even more difficult for those with children or elderly family members in their household.

Hernandez, the bartender, said she would be willing to go back to work if Neon Rose reopens.

“Hopefully we can all get back to work soon. But I’m just concerned about our patrons’ health, our regulars’ health. It’s scary to think that, even though you’ll have a 20 person capacity, there will be a chance that you’ll likely get sick, or someone there will likely get sick, and that’s a scary thought. It would just really suck to put anybody at risk like that.”

Robert Moore contributed to this story.

This article first appeared on El Paso Matters and is republished here under a Creative Commons license.” data-src=”https://elpasomatters.org/?republication-pixel=true&post=4387&ga=UA-158587614-1″ />

Categories: Local Blogs

Memorial Day El Paso

El Paso News - Sat, 05/23/2020 - 7:18am
The orgins of Memorial Day orginally began as Decoration Day on May 30th 1868 in remembrance of Civil War Soldiers. Over the years it became a National Holiday to remember our service men and women who have given the ultimate sacrifice, their lives. In El Paso, much like other parts of the country there will… Read More Memorial Day El Paso
Categories: Local Blogs

Candidate Shawn Nixon: I’m Creating A Plan To Drive El Paso Forward

El Paso News - Fri, 05/22/2020 - 7:49pm
My experience outside of politics is extensive. It ranges from mentoring others in entrepreneurship projects; spear-heading youth projects; holding service-oriented positions in Northeast El Paso; rendering aid to the elderly and disabled citizens in our city with the goal of improving the quality of life for the citizens in our city as a whole; and… Read More Candidate Shawn Nixon: I’m Creating A Plan To Drive El Paso Forward
Categories: Local Blogs

La Corona - The One Dee Cannot Catch

Max Powers - Fri, 05/22/2020 - 3:14pm
Dee Margo cannot catch a break. He rolls out a Wuhan Virus Re-opening Task Force only to get shat on by his friend, Governor Greg Abbott. If that was not bad enough, Dee has to play second fiddle to County Judge Ricardo Samaniego. Again, that could have been Vince Perez's... Max Powers
Categories: Local Blogs

Waxing Nostalgic for Breakfasts that I have known

El Paso News - Fri, 05/22/2020 - 10:49am
So, sitting in my recliner this morning with my coffee and my orange for breakfast, followed by a bowl of Honey Nut Bunches of Oats with pieces of fresh strawberries and milk, I started to wax nostalgia over the breakfasts that I have had in my lifetime. Now THAT was a snake sentence for the… Read More Waxing Nostalgic for Breakfasts that I have known
Categories: Local Blogs

Immigrants Are A Drain on The American Economy, So They Say

El Paso News - Fri, 05/22/2020 - 5:00am
Immigrants are a drain on the American economy, they say. We seek America for benefits. We are takers and give nothing back. That is what the anti-immigrants say. That is what the anti-immigrants want you to believe. Never mind that immigrants have made America great for generations. Immigrants have have proven this repeatedly, but today… Read More Immigrants Are A Drain on The American Economy, So They Say
Categories: Local Blogs

We Are A Drain On The American Economy They Say

EPN - Border Analysis - Thu, 05/21/2020 - 10:00pm
We are a drain on the American economy they say. We seek America for benefits. We are takers and give nothing back. That is what the anti-immigrants say. That is what they want you to believe. Never mind that immigrants make America great. This has been proven many times, but the anti-immigrants refuse to believe… Read More We Are A Drain On The American Economy They Say
Categories: Local Blogs

June is The Pivot Point

EPN - Border Analysis - Wed, 05/20/2020 - 10:00pm
There is an ongoing debate on whether mandatory lock downs are hurting the economy, or they are not. Part of those who are advocating for their right to remain open support the idea that Americans are a free people and that government should not interfere with their basic rights. The problem with this thinking is… Read More June is The Pivot Point
Categories: Local Blogs

Meet Candidate Shawn Nixon: I’m Running to Be Your Next District 4 Representative

El Paso News - Wed, 05/20/2020 - 5:06pm
I was born and raised in my beloved hometown of El Paso, Texas. I am the fourth oldest of five children. When I was 17-Months-Old, I had a seizure that put me in a four-hour coma. As a result of that trauma, growing up was not easy for me. I was different from other kids… Read More Meet Candidate Shawn Nixon: I’m Running to Be Your Next District 4 Representative
Categories: Local Blogs

Mexican Workers Amid the Covid-19 Pandemic

El Paso News - Wed, 05/20/2020 - 1:29pm
In an article titled: “La pandemia sigue el rastro de la desigualdad en México,” El Pais describes how Covid-19 is affecting workers Mexican workers. The article states Covid-19 crossed over from the United States but it doesn’t mention how other countries contributed to the spread of the virus. https://elpais.com/sociedad/2020-05-19/la-pandemia-sigue-el-rastro-de-la-desigualdad-en-mexico.html?fbclid=IwAR1_IjD4vkGSAJ95FHu5l3NLKGC5mK4GmrDbWnfch9laLbU-XZkfd65JRkk
Categories: Local Blogs

June is The Pivot Point

El Paso News - Wed, 05/20/2020 - 12:29pm
There is an ongoing debate on whether mandatory lock downs are hurting the economy, or they are not. Part of those who are advocating for their right to remain open support the idea that Americans are a free people and that government should not interfere with their basic rights. The problem with this thinking is… Read More June is The Pivot Point
Categories: Local Blogs
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by Dr. Radut