Growing up, Mayra Macias often saw her father collapsed on the couch after a 14-hour day as a garbage man for the City of Chicago.

“He didn’t want to do it, but would do anything to get his family ahead,” says the 31-year-old daughter of Mexican immigrants. “I didn’t take their sacrifice lightly.”

Macias went on to graduate from Yale University and become one of 12 million Hispanic women who are a growing share of the U.S. labor pool. Today at her job as executive director of the Latino Victory Project she works to elect progressive Hispanics to political office.

Macias is an example of a salient feature of the U.S. economic expansion in recent years: The rise in women who want a job, or have one. And the labor participation rates for Latinas in particular stands out. Today, 61% of Latinas are participating in the labor force -- higher than the national rate for females of 59%, according to the November job report.

At a time when the Trump administration is aggressively cracking down on unauthorized immigration, the statistic shows that the U.S. economy remains dependent on migrants and their children for growth in the labor force.

The importance of Hispanic women in the workforce is expected to increase. By 2028, they are forecast to account for 9.2% of the total labor force, up from 7.5% in 2018, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Latinos -- both women and men -- will account for a fifth of the worker pool by then.

The ascent of working Latinas comes as the Federal Reserve is testing the limits of a tight labor market, an experiment that is also benefiting other groups such as African-Americans.

Ernie Tedeschi, a researcher at Evercore ISI in Washington, says rising educational attainment and possibly “shifting cultural norms” in Hispanic families are also driving Latina workforce engagement.

Yai Vargas, 36, came to America from the Dominican Republic at age 3. Her mom worked as a food server at Costco and her dad sold real estate. She worked her way through college and eventually made enough money to move into her own apartment.

“My mother didn’t speak to me for months because she was so appalled,” for breaking a cultural tradition by leaving home before marriage, says Vargas, founder of The Latinista, a company that helps women of color with career development.

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