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Competition between blue collar Latinos and Blacks in growing and declining industries in North Carolina

Blue collar immigrant Latinos have increasingly gained employment within North Carolina’s growing meatpacking industry and declining textile industry from 1980 to 2000. This paper uses three decades of Census data to provide a theoretically descriptive discussion about trends and patterns that have emerged within these industries. Results indicate that in meatpacking, Latinos are being crowded into low wage ghettos, despite cases where they are substituting for exiting white workers or where they have been queued upward into better paying jobs. In textiles, Latinos gained employment because they are inexpensive labor or because they are substituting for whites and slowing growth among blacks. Within narrow occupational categories, interpretations of growing Latino presence were consistent from macro to micro levels while in other cases crowding in meatpacking and wage discrimination in textiles were not foreshadowed. Overall, Latinos appear to be affecting employment rates of whites more than blacks in both industries.