Locating day-labor employment: toward a geographic understanding of day-labor hiring site locations in the San Diego metropolitan area.

Crotty, Sean M. 

Urban Geography 36, no. 7 (2015): 993-1017.


Day-labor hiring sites are common features of the contemporary North American landscape. These are public and semi-public spaces where mostly male residents congregate daily in hopes of being hired for short-term work. Research on contemporary day-labor markets in the United States to date tends to be policy-oriented, intended to reduce the injustices that are a common part of life as a day laborer. Unfortunately, very little is understood about the spatial organization of day-labor markets. Drawing on more than five years of mixed-methods research in the San Diego Metropolitan Area (SDMA), this paper takes two important steps toward a spatial understanding of day-labor hiring sites. First, it demonstrates that informal hiring sites are established in locations that maximize laborers’ chances of finding employment. Second, it establishes a geo-spatial typology of hiring sites for the SDMA that can be used to better tailor day-labor support efforts and policy to site-level context.

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