By Juan A. Lozano
HOUSTON -- Increasing workers' earning power and offering Latino-owned companies easier access to funding that can be used for growth and expansion can help improve the social and economic status of Latinos in the U.S. and throughout Latin America, Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim told a group of religious and community leaders Sunday.
During a speech at the annual conference of the Catholic Association of Latino Leaders, Slim spoke for more than an hour on how to better the plight of Latino workers and Latino-owned businesses.
Slim, a telecom magnate who this year was ranked by Forbes magazine as the world's second-richest person, with an estimated net worth of $72 billion, suggested establishing investment firms or companies dedicated to working with small- and medium-size Latino businesses in need of financing.
Read More: 8 Stocks George Soros Is Buying in 2014
He told a crowd of about 200 people that in a time of recent economic crises, countries need to focus on strengthening the middle class as well as health care systems and education.
"What is important is that people earn more and that more middle classes are formed," said Slim, who owns telecommunications giant America Movil, (AMX) a leading cellphone service provider in Latin America.
Slim also reiterated an idea he first made public last month at another conference: his proposal for a three-day workweek. He said the idea would mean longer work hours and delaying retirement until a person is 70 to 75 years old. But he said it would mean people having more free time with their families or for personal enrichment.