Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Immigrant Worker: "There's no work here anymore."

by Calculated Risk on 12/27/2006 01:26:00 AM

From the WaPo: Immigrants' Jobs Vanish With Housing Slowdown

The gold rush came in drywall, laminate flooring and granite countertops ...

Then sometime last year ... the rush began to go bust, little by little, month by month. The contractors stopped hiring. The phone stopped ringing. Washington, it seemed, had all the houses it could hold.

... On Jan. 20, he is taking his family back to El Salvador, with plans to open an auto repair shop with the money he has saved. "There's no work here anymore,"
"A slowdown in the construction industry hits illegals much harder than the rest of the general population," [said Steven A. Camarota, research director of the Center for Immigration Studies.]
The housing starts data suggests that 400K to 600K BLS reported jobs will be lost in residential construction over the next six months. But many more jobs will be lost by illegal immigrants working in construction. And the loss of these jobs matter too:
The effects of the slowdown are also rippling through Hispanic-owned businesses. "A lot of my customers have gone to Florida, to the Carolinas," said Carlos Castro, owner of the Todos Supermarket chain and chairman of the Hispanic Business Council in Prince William County.

Sales are down slightly at Castro's stores, but he said some of his suppliers are experiencing 30 to 40 percent decreases in local orders, with smaller, less-established businesses taking the biggest hit.