Economy may cause change in demographics
The slowing economy and the late start of the ski season is hurting the local Hispanic community, say some business owners.
A few, like Gildurdo Anaya, owner of Anaya’s Market off Bonanza Drive, and Mario Cuartas, owner of Park City Auto Sales, believe there’s been an exodus of workers.
"There’s not enough jobs right now. Nobody is hiring as much," Anaya said.
He estimated that perhaps over 50 families left in November.
Sister Suzanne Brennan of Holy Cross Ministries disagrees and said she would have noticed if that many had left.
Veronica Claridge at McPolin Elementary said she hasn’t seen any kids leave because families were moving.
But even if his numbers are wrong, he’s the only Latino market in town so he said he sees nearly everyone come in at some time. He knows people have left, or perhaps are buying less, because his sales are down.
He used to cash around 100 checks a day for customers and now does fewer than 10. He believes that confirms they aren’t finding work.
"I used to have a long line for the taqueria (lunch counter) out the door and needed at least four workers. Now two is more than enough," he explained.
Cuartas said he sees a lot of Park City’s Hispanic population because they come to him to have their auto inspections done. People have told him they’re planning on leaving because they aren’t making enough money.
Father Bob Bussen at St. Mary’s Parish and Sister Brennan were surprised to hear that and predicted that the opposite trend will be evident in the coming months.
They said California’s struggling economy and stricter immigration laws in states like Arizona and Oklahoma are causing an exodus of Hispanic families to places where jobs are still present, like Utah.
Father Bussen said people are coming to Park City hoping to find ski season jobs and because they may have family here.
"Whether they’ll be able to stay or not is a whole ‘nother issue," he said.
Cuartas said he has met some new people in town from out of state, but predicted those leaving or planning to leave outnumber them. Anaya said he hasn’t seen new people from Arizona or California in his market yet, but he also manages several other locations in the Salt Lake Valley and isn’t in Park City all the time.
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