http://sogpubs.unc.edu/electronicversions/pg/hispan.htmWhat Kinds of Jobs Are the Hispanic Newcomers Getting?
Most of what is known about Hispanic employment patterns in North Carolina (outside of agricultural work) is based on studies of specific industries (for example, poultry and hog processing) or of local communities that have experienced a significant influx of Hispanics in recent years (for example, Siler City in Chatham County and Charlotte in Mecklenburg County). To date, no systematic efforts have been undertaken to assess the overall employment impact of Hispanic migration to North Carolina.
To address this issue, we created an employment profile of the Hispanic population of North Carolina using 1990 PUMS occupational data. Although these data are somewhat dated, they are the best and most reliable source of information on the statewide employment patterns of North Carolina’s Hispanic population. For our purposes, we grouped occupations into the following categories, as defined by the U.S. Census Bureau:
Primary activities, including agriculture, forestry, and fisheries
Transformative activities, including manufacturing and construction
Distributive services, including transportation, communication, and wholesale and retail trade
Producer services, including finance, insurance, real estate, and business services
Personal services, including entertainment, repairs, and eating and drinking
Social services, including health care, education, and government
Active military service, including active status in a branch of the U.S. military
We broke down our data according to Hispanic settlement patterns: those who resided in the two military communities and those who resided in the I-85 corridor communities. For comparison we also examined the statewide distribution of both total Hispanic employment and total employment.
Several patterns are apparent in these data. First, contrary to popular stereotypes, Hispanic workers were widely dispersed in the North Carolina economy in 1990. The statewide distribution indicates that North Carolina Hispanics were overrepresented in primary activities—as Hispanics are in communities outside North Carolina that have a substantial Hispanic presence. But unlike Hispanic workers in many other such communities, they also are overrepresented in social services and military service, occupations that pay higher wages. In addition, although Hispanics are underrepresented by statewide standards, they are substantially represented in transformative activities, especially construction.
The occupational distributions in the two types of communities that served as magnets for Hispanic in-migration between 1985 and 1990—military settings and the I-85 corridor communities—show radically different patterns. In the military settings, Hispanics are greatly overrepresented in military service occupations and underrepresented in all other occupational categories. In the I-85 corridor communities, Hispanics are overrepresented in the other occupational categories, compared with the pattern in military settings. Thus the typical image of a migrant farm worker or a gardener no longer applies to North Carolina’s Hispanic newcomers. They are distributed throughout the state’s economy, in both high- and low-wage occupations.