More American workers turning to day labor during recession

Thursday, April 17th, 2014 By

Undocumented workers standing on a street corner have been joined by Americans clothed in superhero garb.

As so-called "jobs Americans won't do" are important to the U.S. economy, there are actually Americans willing to do the work. (Photo Credit: CC BY-SA/Hillary Hartley/Flickr)

The recession continues to leave many Americans grasping for cash, wherever they may find it. They’re even reaching for those so-called “jobs Americans won’t do,” reports the Wall Street Journal. Day labor, once considered to be the almost-exclusive domain of undocumented workers, is now on the rise among  former white-collar employees, male and female. Reports indicate crowds of aspiring day laborers waiting on street corners for jobs are increasingly non-Latino.

From auto, skilled construction and finance to day labor

When survival is at stake for oneself and one’s family, per diem day labor work becomes necessary. Certain towns in California where undocumented workers customarily come north looking for day labor jobs are witnessing the odd appearance of illegal immigrants protesting that Americans are taking away their jobs — and thus their cash now. Considering that construction jobs have mostly gone stagnant, day laborers are scrambling for jobs such as moving and landscaping, which pay less because fewer hours are required. The competition has become fierce, as skilled, educated American workers are vying for the low-paying jobs undocumented workers previously owned.

Center for Immigration Studies: Dispelling the illusion

A recent study by the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) indicates that the concept of “jobs Americans won’t do” is a popular illusion. Available data points to the falsehood of this idea; Census Bureau data collected from 2005 to 2007 indicate that even before the recession, “there were only a tiny number of majority-immigrant occupations.” And for jobs thought to be predominantly performed by undocumented workers – such as housekeeping, maintenance, construction site labor and janitorial – Census data shows that the majority of employees are American-born. The CIS study sampled 4.4 million individuals, approximately 560,000 of which were immigrants. Even taking into account undocumented workers who fly under the radar, the sample size remains significant.

Depressed wages, meet the depressed economy

Jon Dougherty, author of the book “Illegals: The Imminent Threat Posed by Our Unsecured U.S.-Mexico Border,” points to what may very well be the economic shift that helped create the “jobs Americans won’t do” illusion. The exodus of “poor, uneducated laborers from south of the border has already worked to depress American wages,” particularly in areas with high rates of illegal immigration. As undocumented workers are often willing to accept less money to do the same work as American laborers, contractors choose to pay less. Americans – particularly those with families – can’t afford to work for $8 per hour if they were previously making just enough to cover expenses at $15 per hour. The cost of living in America makes the pay cut nearly impossible to swallow. Many undocumented day laborers can retreat back across the border at the end of a day’s work and survive – if not comfortably – on wages they typically cannot earn in their native country.

Sources:

Center for Immigration Studies
Newsmax.com
Wall Street Journal

Undocumented workers protesting Americans taking their day labor jobs

Previous Article

« FTC strongly suggests do-not-track option in online privacy plan

The FTC urged companies in the online industry to adopt a do-not-track standard or the agency will lobby for Congress to do it for them... do not track option for online privacy
Next Article

Short Term Installment Loans: A solution to your short term needs »

Applying for short term installment loans has never been easier! Apply today and get the cash you need in as little as two hours! Start now! Woman eating an apple, happy about short term installment loans online.

This post has one comment

  1. Snekkar says:

    "..to work for $8 per hour if they were previously making just enough to cover expenses at $15 per hour."

    When those expenses include union dues, trade association contributions that end up in PAC pockets, project-required "support personnel", re-re-re-certification merry-go-rounds that only serve the Trade School/Junior College bottom lines…

    Real Skilled Labor will usually put up with quite a bit of nonsense, mostly because they're too busy in their craft.

    …and then they move to cash.

    Economists are puzzled when consumer spending expands while unemployment goes up. They are puzzled as they get a break for cash from their bricklayer for the new patio. yeesh.

Trackbacks / Pingbacks

Leave a Reply

Other recent posts by Steve Tarlow

Manitoba’s Judgment of Payday Loans Ignores Reason, Commerce

If the free market was allowed to regulate itself, we wouldn’t be talking about nanny states so much in regards to payday loans. READ about Manitoba here.
Payday loans are heavily regulated in the Canadian province of Manitoba. This flies in the face of reason, as 310-LOAN's executive study indicates. (Photo: picasaweb.google.com)

Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission Begins to Grill Bankers

The Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission (FCIC) has begun questioning bank CEOs regarding whether they are using bailout funds responsibly.

HeadBlade: Yet Another Sign of America’s Invention Renaissance

The recession is a perfect time for inventors to rise from nothing and put their good ideas to work. HeadBlade is but one example of this.