Day laborers getting flattened by financial crisis
With home construction down and less people opting for landscaping due to recent economic downturns, day laborers are becoming overlooked victims of the fiscal crisis.
Lakewood day laborers hoping for work gather on Clifton Avenue each day. On the day News 12 New Jersey stopped by, only two employers came by as between 50 and 60 workers waited for work.
The workers all refused to give their last names due to worries over their immigration statuses.
"The savings that we have ? it's like less and less everyday," says a day laborer and father of four only willing to identify himself as Juan.
The laborers say not only is work harder to come by, but wages are going down. Workers earning $11 per hour plus a meal now say they're lucky to land an $8 gig where they're on their own for food.
Many can no longer afford to mail money back to families in their home countries. Other immigrants are turning to share residences with other families in order to cut rent.
As work goes down, the numbers of day laborers are going up. Laid off cooks and restaurant workers are joining the day laborers due to fewer diners opting to eat out.
"There's no other option," says a worker named Carlos.