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Friday, 27th July 2007

Day Labor in the Golden State

Day Labor in the Golden State (PDF; 1.57 MB)
Source: Public Policy Institute of California
From press release:

California leads the nation in community reaction to workers popularly known as “day laborers.” Yet, based on the first ever national survey of these workers, a study released today by the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) shows that day laborers make up a very small proportion of the state’s workforce. The analysis also reveals how the state’s day labor market works and fills in previously unknown detail about who these laborers are and the conditions under which they live and work.

Some of the portrait bears out certain popular conceptions. The average California day laborer is a 34-year-old, single, immigrant male who has had only seven years of schooling. Most day laborers hail from Mexico (68%), 29 percent are born in other parts of Latin America, and a mere 3 percent are born in the United States. The vast majority – 80 percent – are working in the state without legal documentation such as a visa or work permit.

Looking at the state’s entire day laborer population, however, the study undercuts a general impression about the size of this population. According to the California data - extracted from the nationally representative National Day Labor Survey conducted in 2004 - the state has relatively few such workers. Only about 40,000 people are either employed as day laborers or looking for day labor jobs on any given day in California. That is just 3 percent of the total estimated undocumented male workforce in the state - and only 0.2 percent of the entire state workforce.


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