Monday, November 01, 2004

CIS: Study Finds Immigrants Gained Jobs While Natives Lost Them

A Jobless Recovery?

WASHINGTON (October 2004) -- A new report from the Center for Immigration Studies calls into question the wisdom of both presidential candidates' proposals to amnesty illegal aliens and to increase levels of new immigration.

The report, based on an analysis of the latest Census Bureau data, shows that the number of adult immigrants holding a job increased by over two million between 2000 and 2004, while the number of adult natives holding a job decreased by nearly half a million. What's more, job losses among native-born Americans tended to be highest in areas with the largest immigrant influx.

The report, entitled ''A Jobless Recovery? Immigrant Gains and Native Losses,'' is available in its entirety at . Among the findings:

* Between March of 2000 and 2004, the number of unemployed adult natives increased by 2.3 million, while the number of employed adult immigrants increased by 2.3 million.

* Half of the 2.3 million increase in immigrant employment since 2000 is estimated to be from illegal immigration.

* In addition to growth in unemployment, the number of working age (18 to 64) natives who have left the labor force altogether has increased by four million since 2000.

* Even over the last year the same general pattern holds. Of the 900,000 net increase in jobs between March 2003 and 2004, two-thirds went to immigrant workers, even though they account for only 15 percent of all adult workers.

* In just the last year, the number of working-age natives not in the labor force increased by 1.2 million. These are individuals are not even trying to find a job.

* Immigrant job gains have occurred throughout the labor market, with more than two-thirds of their employment gains among workers who have at least a high school degree.

* There is little evidence that immigrants take only jobs Americans don't want. Even those occupations with the highest concentrations of new immigrants still employ millions of native-born workers.

* The decline in native employment was most pronounced in states where immigrants increased their share of workers the most.

* Occupations with the largest immigrant influx tended to have the highest unemployment rates among natives.

* The states with the largest increase in the number of immigrants holding jobs were Texas, North Carolina, Maryland, Georgia, California, Arizona, New Jersey, Virginia, and Pennsylvania.

* Of the nation's largest metropolitan areas, the biggest increases in immigrant employment were in Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., Dallas, Houston, New York, and Seattle.

The findings raise the very real possibility that immigration has adversely affected native employment. While it would be an oversimplification to assume that each job taken by an immigrant is a job lost by a native, it is clear immigration has remained at record levels and at the same time employment among the native-born has declined. Unfortunately, both presidential candidates have chosen to largely ignore this important issue. To the extent they have addressed the question, both have advocated legalizing illegal aliens and increasing legal immigration still further. Given the labor market difficulties experienced by many natives, such proposals seem out of step with the realities faced by many American workers.

Contact: Steven Camarota, (202) 466-8185,
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