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Objectives

Latino immigrants continue to enter low-skilled urban labor markets across metropolitan areas in the United States. This study provides a dynamic account of the employment competition between Latino immigrant and black workers in the context of an emerging immigrant gateway: the Atlanta Metropolitan Statistical Area.

Methods

This study identifies occupational niches that Latino immigrants and black workers heavily concentrate for years 1990, 2000, and 2008. Occupational-level composition and wage models are also estimated to test for the impact Latino immigration might have on black workers.

Results

Both black workers and Latino immigrant workers became increasingly concentrated in a few occupations between 1990 and 2008. While Latino immigrants have entered several historically black occupational niches, no downward pressure on the wage growth of blacks in the same occupation is observed.

Conclusions

As immigrants become increasingly clustered in manual-intensive craftsmen, operative, and farm occupations, blacks gravitate toward the better-paid and language-intensive sales, clerical, and service occupations, forming a segmented low-skill labor market. The reinforcement of their respective niches also tends to create closure to the other groups and intensify within-group competition.