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The Social Geography of Day Labor: Informal Responses to the Economic Downturn

The Social Geography of Day Labor: Informal Responses to the Economic Downturn Sean Crotty Texas Christian University Introduction The roots of the recent global financial crisis, popularly known as the "Great Recession," are firmly entrenched in the United States housing market and in the financial techniques invented to drive growth in that sector from the late 1990s through the mid-2000s. The housing boom of the early 2000s did not create an equivalent formal-sector growth in construction employment. Rather, the construction industry underwent a large-scale reorganization that can be generally understood as "flexibilization" within the neoliberal context (Theodore 2007, 251). Informal day labor, a type of low-wage contingent employment, grew considerably during this time period as a result of increased demand for labor in residential construction (Valenzuela et al. 2006; Doussard 2013). This was certainly the case in the San Diego Metropolitan Area (SDMA), where forty-five informal hiring sites were used by approximately one thousand men looking for work each day. The nature of day-labor work requires these men, known as day laborers or jornaleros, to adapt quickly to changing employment circumstances. During periods of high employment, they may work for five different employers in a week on five or more different projects. The Great Recession, however, caused profound shifts in http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Yearbook of the Association of Pacific Coast Geographers University of Hawai'I Press

The Social Geography of Day Labor: Informal Responses to the Economic Downturn

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Publisher
University of Hawai'I Press
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Copyright © University of Hawai'i Press.
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1551-3211
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Abstract

Sean Crotty Texas Christian University Introduction The roots of the recent global financial crisis, popularly known as the "Great Recession," are firmly entrenched in the United States housing market and in the financial techniques invented to drive growth in that sector from the late 1990s through the mid-2000s. The housing boom of the early 2000s did not create an equivalent formal-sector growth in construction employment. Rather, the construction industry underwent a large-scale reorganization that can be generally understood as "flexibilization" within the neoliberal context (Theodore 2007, 251). Informal day labor, a type of low-wage contingent employment, grew considerably during this time period as a result of increased demand for labor in residential construction (Valenzuela et al. 2006; Doussard 2013). This was certainly the case in the San Diego Metropolitan Area (SDMA), where forty-five informal hiring sites were used by approximately one thousand men looking for work each day. The nature of day-labor work requires these men, known as day laborers or jornaleros, to adapt quickly to changing employment circumstances. During periods of high employment, they may work for five different employers in a week on five or more different projects. The Great Recession, however, caused profound shifts in

Journal

Yearbook of the Association of Pacific Coast GeographersUniversity of Hawai'I Press

Published: Sep 30, 2014

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