Day laborers want to know: Buddy, can you spare a job?
Although day laborers in the US are often undocumented immigrants, more than 80 percent have been in the country for at least five years and many of them are involved with such local institutions as schools, churches, and community centers. These are among the findings of what's believed to be the first national study of such people, conducted by university researchers in New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles. Day laborers often wait on street corners to be hired by homeowners, contractors, or produce growers for carpentry, gardening, and other low-wage jobs. By conservative estimates, they number 117,600 and the vast majority are Hispanics whose annual incomes hover near the poverty line ($12,830 or less for a family of two). The countries with the highest percentages of day laborers in the US:
El Salvador 5%
Caribbean nations 2%
- Associated Press