Hiring preferences for nonimmigrant labor: The case of the seafood processing industry

Ashok Mishra, Jeffrey M. Gillespie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The US seafood industry is dependent on foreign workers. It is estimated that majority of seafood workers are foreign born. Labor is a major input in the seafood processing industry. Shortage in seafood workers (labor, majority of which are nonimmigrant H-2B workers) can significantly affect seafood production, processing, and result in severe financial problems. However, the relative significance of labor attributes that are most important in hiring decisions, including immigration status, are not clear. Seafood processor preferences for hiring employees are explored in light of references, wages, and immigration status. Using survey data and conjoint analysis, this study determines the relative importance of labor attributes and identifies distinct clusters of processors in terms of processor preferences for hiring labor. The H-2B program reduces companies' training and turnover costs. Many survey respondents complained about high turnover among US workers. Results indicate that for seafood processors, wage is the most important and visa status the least important factor when hiring seafood workers. Findings from this study may have important implications on economic impact studies using input/output models that usually use naïve assumptions regarding labor costs and hiring preferences.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)83-99
Number of pages17
JournalMarine Resource Economics
Volume31
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016

Keywords

  • Cluster analysis
  • Conjoint analysis
  • H-2B visa
  • Nonimmigrant labor
  • Seafood processor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oceanography
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law

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