LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Latinos are a giant powerhouse in America, and data shows just how much money they contributed to the U.S. economy.
A new report by California Lutheran University and UCLA shows Latinos in the U.S. propelled the overall economy forward during the COVID-19 pandemic.
"I think there would be no California if it wasn't for the Latino community," said California Assembly Speaker Emeritus Anthony Rendon.
In 2021, the U.S. Latino Gross Domestic Product hit $3.2 trillion, the report said. It's the first time the Latino GDP has crossed the $3 trillion threshold.
"That says quite a bit about the buying power and the economic power of the Latino community," said Rendon.
The latest figure is up from $2.8 trillion in 2020 and almost doubles 2010's $1.7 trillion GDP.
"If we were a separate country ... [the U.S. Latino GDP would be] the world's 5th largest economy in the world with the second fastest growth rate of all the top 10 economies," explained Dr. David Hayes-Bautista, director of UCLA's Center for the Study of Latino Health and Culture. "The 62 million Latinos in the U.S. produced an economy bigger than the entire economy of the United Kingdom, bigger than the economy of France, bigger than Spain, bigger than Italy, bigger than India."
Hayes-Bautista said that Latinos are spread out across a wide range of industries and sectors. The largest sector, which makes up about 15% of the Latino GDP, may surprise people.
"The biggest sector, and the one with the fastest growth for Latinos, is not agriculture, it's not small business; it's finance, insurance and real estate," said Hayes-Bautista.
Rendon expects the upward trend to continue and said without Latinos, the labor force would implode.
"We are everywhere," he said. "We're powerful, we're present, and our voices are really being heard."
Next year, UCLA will be releasing a Latina GDP report which will show the impact Latina women are making on the U.S. economy. Hayes-Bautista said the report is going to be "revealing" and "eye-opening."