Day Labor and the Search for Work--Findings from the National Day Labor Survey

Arturo Gonzalez, Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC)
Abel Valenzuala, University of California, Los Angeles

The day labor population is growing not only in size, but also in prominence in media and policy circles. Yet little is known about this population aside from metro-area studies or from field interviews. This study utilizes the first nationally representative survey of day laborers, the National Day Labor Study, to consider several questions. This study examines what are the most important factors affecting weekly earnings: hourly wages, hours worked per day, or number of days worked? Next this study compares day laborer earnings by undocumented status to consider how undocumented day laborers would fare in the formal labor market if they had the legal right to do so. The results suggest that number of days worked is the most important variable affecting weekly earnings, and that undocumented status is not associated with differences in earnings between legal and undocumented day laborers.

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Presented in Session 22: Undocumented Migrants