The Center for Research on Immigration, Population and Public Policy presents   

“Weathering the Storm? Employment Transitions of Low-Skill Mexican Immigrants, 2005-2011”
with Katherine Donato, Professor and Chair of Sociology, Vanderbilt University

Tuesday, May 14, 2013
12:30–1:30 p.m.
Social Science Plaza B, Room 4250

Low-skill Mexican immigrant employment during the Great Recession offers an opportunity to investigate how immigrants fare during economic downturns, given that Mexicans are the largest foreign-born group in the US and two-thirds of Mexican immigrants lack a high school diploma. Drawing on matched data from the Annual Social and Economic Supplement of the Current Population Survey for men (n=3,383) and women (n=1,701) from 2005-2011, Donato uses multivariate regression models to examine the employment transitions and work arrangements of foreign-born Mexican and U.S.-born white workers with less than a high school degree before and during the recent economic recession. Mexican men were less likely to transition from employment to unemployment than comparable low-skilled white men from 2008 to 2011. However, during this same period, Mexican men also experienced high levels of involuntary part-time employment, suggesting their relative success in remaining employed was not without its costs. For women, Donato finds tentative evidence that the recession had a leveling effect because it reduced prior disparities in employment transitions between Mexicans and whites. Given that prior studies have documented that employers have strong preferences for Mexican immigrant labor, these findings suggest a nuanced explanation of the distinctive labor force position of low-skilled Mexican workers in the U.S. economy. In the case of Mexican men, Donato finds that this distinctiveness can serve as both a source of advantage and disadvantage.

Katherine Donato is professor and chair of sociology at Vanderbilt University. Her work includes a tri-city project on immigrant parent involvement in schools, a binational project on health and migration with four waves of data from both sides of the border, and a forthcoming book on women and migration. She was editor of the American Sociological Review, 2010-2012.

A light lunch will be served to early arrivers.

This talk is part of the Population, Society and Inequality Colloquium Series.

For further information, please contact Jayne Lee Yang, or 949-824-2566.

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