The debate concerning job competition between immigrant and nonimmigrant groups has intensified owing to the large increase in the 1970s and 1980s in immigration and the simultaneous growth in urban poverty rates for African-American and other minority groups. It focuses on the possible wage and displacement effects an increase in immigration would cause for the U.S.-born population. Using 1970 and 1980 industrial and occupational census data and shift-share methodology for Los Angeles, the author shows that immigrants do not simply function as either competitive or complementary sources of labor. Instead, he argues, job competition between groups of workers depends in part on whether U.S.-born workers belong to protected or unprotected labor markets. Overall, the data in this study reveal that immigrants are not displacing native-born labor in disproportionate numbers, especially in industries. However, there are isolated instances of job displacement between immigrants and native-born whites and Mexicans in some occupations. In addition, complementarity (e.g., job growth) is more frequent than displacement in industries and occupations, and decreases in white employment are not the net result of immigrant employment growth in Los Angeles.
Valenzuela, Abel Jr.
"Compatriots or Competitors? Job Competition between Foreign- and U.S.-born Angelenos,"
New England Journal of Public Policy: Vol. 11
, Article 7.
Available at: http://scholarworks.umb.edu/nejpp/vol11/iss1/7