Immigrant incorporation in the garment industry of Los Angeles.

  • Light I
  • Bernard R
  • Kim R
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Abstract

This study expands immigrant social network theory and examined employment patterns in the garment industry in Los Angeles, California, among Latino workers employed by Asian immigrant entrepreneurs. The study determined that a large percentage of immigrant employees found their jobs through the immigrant economy. Entrepreneurship increased the supply of local jobs and expanded the economy at destination at no expense to natives. Immigrant entrepreneurs bought firms from nonimmigrant owners or started new ones with an immigrant labor supply. Massey's index is flawed due to its exclusion of the role of entrepreneurs. Migration networks facilitate entrepreneurship, but some ethnic groups have fewer entrepreneurs, such as Mexicans and Central Americans. A 1993 Los Angeles survey identified 3642 garment factories in its county. Mean employment was 27.1 persons. The garment industry was the 4th largest industry in the area in 1996, with 98,700 employees. It represented 6% of all wage and salary employees in the City and 5.5% of the immigrant labor force in the County in 1990. 93% of garment workers in 1990 were immigrants. It is estimated that 51% of garment factory owners were Asians; most employees were Latinos. Census figures on sewing machine operators indicated 47.3% of owners were Whites and 42.45 were Asians. 53.3% of employees were other ethnic groups, 14.5% were Asians, and 32.2% were Whites. It is estimated that 47.2% of total employment was due to the immigration economy. 71.5% of the total employment in the garment industry was in the immigrant sector.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Americas
  • California
  • Case Studies
  • Demographic Factors
  • Developed Countries
  • Economic Factors
  • Family And Household
  • Friends And Relatives
  • Human Resources
  • Immigrants
  • Industry
  • Labor Force
  • Macroeconomic Factors
  • Migrants
  • Migration
  • Models, Theoretical
  • North America
  • Northern America
  • Population
  • Population Dynamics
  • Research Methodology
  • Research Report
  • Social Networks
  • Studies
  • United States

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Authors

  • I Light

  • R B Bernard

  • R Kim

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