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View Diary: America's Bleak Jobs Outlook (9 comments)

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    From 2000 to 2010 the U.S. received 6.9 million new working-age immigrants, and the number of immigrants employed increased by 4.5 million. During the same period the number of native-born working-age adults increased by 13.5 million, yet the number of native-born workers who were employed actually decreased by 1.1 million. Much of the drop in employment rate for native-born workers occurred during the two recessions, but it was not significantly reduced during the recoveries, because as jobs returned employers hired immigrants instead of unemployed native-born workers.

    The share of working-age natives who are employed declined during the 2000 to 2010 decade from 76% to 69%, but the job loss has been concentrated in less-educated workers who compete most directly with immigrants. Even in the part of the decade that experienced rapid economic growth the huge influx of less-educated immigrants exerted downward pressure on the employment prospects of less-educated Americans. From the first quarter of 2000 to the third quarter of 2007 the employment rate for natives with only a high school education fell from 74% to 70%, before falling to 65% in 2010. For natives with less than a high school education, employment fell from an already abysmal  52% in 2000 to 48% in 2007, and to 41% in 2010. As always, the poorest Americans have been most effected.

    To update the earlier numbers, with some temporal overlap. From the start of 2009 to the 3rd quarter of 2012, the number of immigrants working increased by 1.9 million, while the number of native-born Americans working increased by only 0.9 million. Of the newly employed immigrants, 1.6 million arrived from abroad since the start of 2009 – 70 to 90% of them legally. Almost all the newly hired immigrants are in occupations where the vast majority of workers are native-born and where unemployment rates remain high (Camarota and Zeigler, 2012).

    Our immigration policy is allowing businesses to  increase profits and achieve competitive advantages by almost totally bypassing unemployed native-born Americans in favor of more pliable immigrants who work for less. This pathological process, which represents an effective prejudice against Americans, and particularly minority Americans, has become well established in the business community, and the only way to eliminate it is to cut off the supply of immigrants willing to work for less under worse working conditions and under the kind of 19th century labor relations that businessmen covet.

    Yet we are now confronted with a Comprehensive Immigration Reform that will increase legal immigration from 1 million/yr. to  3 million/yr. for the first 10 years, and 2 million/yr. after that.

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