Puerto Ricans in the U.S. Low-Wage Labor Market: Introduction to the Issues, Trends, and Policies

M. Anne Visser and Edwin Melendez
Published in
CENTRO Journal, Volume 23 (2011), 3-28

Puerto Ricans are concentrated in low-wage jobs and experience higher rates of unemployment and poverty than other Hispanic subgroups. Through a cross-sectional data analysis from the American Community Survey, 2006– 2008, we examine the experience of Puerto Rican workers. Though educational attainment and language disparities play a role, structural factors such as concentration in low-wage service industries also explain the disadvantaged standing of Puerto Ricans in the labor market. This analysis highlights the importance of ethnic-specific studies and the need for research on factors that may influence Puerto Rican workers’ mobility in and out of low-wage jobs.