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Job Market a Flash Point for Natives, Newcomers : Labor: Are immigrants taking away work? The reality is a complicated mosaic of contradictions and ambiguity.

THE GREAT DIVIDE. Immigration in the 1990s. One in a series

November 15, 1993|STUART SILVERSTEIN | TIMES STAFF WRITER

The next article Friday takes a look at patrolling the U.S.-Mexico border.

Where Job Shifts Favor Immigrants

In a wide variety of occupations, U.S.-born workers dwindled as a portion of California's labor force during the 1980s--and immigrants made big advances.

EXAMPLE 1: CONSTRUCTION LABORERS

Construction labor was a growing field in the 1980s for both U.S.- and foreign-born workers in California. But the expanding employment of immigrants exceeded the growth in jobs for American-born construction workers. 1980 Foreign-born: 17,860 jobs held (20%) U.S.-born: 73,320 jobs held (80%) 1990 Foreign-born: 73,341 jobs held (38%) U.S.-born: 120,451 jobs held (62%) *

EXAMPLE 2: HOTEL MAIDS AND HOUSEMEN

Job opportunities also expanded in the state for hotel maids and housemen. But in this job category, employment of U.S.-born workers actually declined, while all the gains were logged by foreign-born workers. 1980 Foreign-born: 19,598 jobs held (34%) U.S.-born: 23,660 jobs held (66%) 1990 Foreign-born: 32,273 jobs held (62%) U.S.-born: 12,140 jobs held (38%) *

OTHER JOB CATEGORIES

These are the occupations that experienced some of the sharpest declines in the percentage of jobs held by U.S.-born workers.

Total % U.S.-born, % U.S.-born, Change foreign-born Occupation 1980 1990 1980-90 workers, 1990 Farm workers 42% 22% -47.6% 139,360 Electronic assemblers 63% 34% -46% 32,558 House cleaners 64% 37% -42.2% 56,677 Food preparers 71% 45% -36.6% 33,662 Household child care 80% 55% -31.3% 14,552 Janitors 74% 51% -31.1% 45,166 Restaurant cooks 71% 49% -31.0% 110,270 Household maids 68% 47% -30.9% 11,280 Gardeners 63% 45% -28.6% 61,452 Drywall installers 91% 68% -25.3% 9,914 Roofers 88% 68% -22.7% 9,179 Painters 81% 65% -19.8% 26,004 Restaurant cashiers 85% 69% -18.8% 31,788

Source: U.S. Census data

Researched by RICHARD O'REILLY, Times director of computer analysis.

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