Friday, September 23, 2011

Most Texas Job Growth Went to Immigrants

81% of Increase 2007-11 Went to New Foreign Workers

A new report by the Center for Immigration Studies examines job growth in Texas. Gov. Rick Perry has pointed to increased employment in Texas during the current economic downturn as one of his main accomplishments. Analysis of the Current Population Survey (CPS) collected by the Census Bureau shows immigrants (legal and illegal) have been the primary beneficiaries of this growth since 2007, and not native-born workers. This is true even though the native-born accounted for the vast majority of growth in the working-age population (age 16 to 65) in Texas.

The report is online here. Key findings:

* Of jobs created in Texas since 2007, 81 percent were taken by newly arrived foreign workers (legal and illegal).

* In terms of numbers, between the second quarter of 2007, right before the recession began, and the second quarter of 2011, total employment in Texas increased by 279,000. Of this, 225,000 jobs went to immigrants (legal and illegal) who arrived in the United States in 2007 or later.

* Of newly arrived immigrants who took a job in Texas, 93 percent were not U.S. citizens. Thus government data shows that more than three-fourths of job growth in Texas went to newly arrived non-citizens (legal and illegal).

* The large share of job growth that went to immigrants is surprising because the native-born accounted for 69 percent of the growth in Texas’ working age population (16 to 65). Thus even though natives made up most of the growth in potential workers, most of the job growth went to immigrants.

* The share of the working-age natives holding a job in Texas declined significantly from 71 percent in 2007 to 67 percent in 2011. This decline is very similar to the decline for natives in the United States as a whole and is an indication that the situation for native-born workers in Texas is very similar to the overall situation in the country despite the state’s job growth.

* Of newly arrived immigrants who took jobs in Texas since 2007, we estimated that 50 percent (113,000) were illegal immigrants. Thus about 40 percent of all the job growth in Texas since 2007 went to newly arrived illegal immigrants and 40 percent went to newly arrived legal immigrants.

* Immigrants took jobs across the educational distribution. Of newly arrived immigrants who took a job in Texas, more than one-third (97,000) had at least some college.

* These numbers raise the question of whether it makes sense to continue the current high level of legal immigration and also whether to continue to tolerate illegal immigration.


As Republicans go through the process of selecting their party’s nominee, job growth in Texas during the current economic downturn has been the subject of much discussion. GOP frontrunner Perry has argued that he has a proven record of job creation in his state, even during the current economic downturn. It is true that Texas is one of the only states where the number of people working has increased during the recession. What has not been acknowledged is that immigrants have been the primary beneficiaries of this job growth, not native-born Americans. About 40 percent job growth went to newly arrived illegal immigrants and another 40 percent to new legal immigrants.

Some may argue that it was the arrival of immigrants in the state that stimulated what job growth there was for natives. But, if immigration stimulates job growth for natives, the numbers in Texas would look very different. The unemployment rate and the employment rate (share holding job) of natives in Texas show a dramatic deterioration during the recession that is similar to the rest of the country. Among the native-born, Texas ranks 22nd in terms of unemployment and 29th in terms of its employment rate. Outside of Texas many of the top immigrant-receiving states have the worst economies. Unemployment in the 10-top immigrant-receiving states in 2011 averaged 8.7 percent, compared to 7.2 percent on average in the 10 states where the fewest immigrants arrived since 2007. These figures do not settle the longstanding debate over the economics of immigration. What they do show is that high immigration is not necessarily associated with positive labor market outcomes for the! native-born.

Some may still feel that less-educated immigrants who work at the bottom of the labor market do not really compete with natives. It is true that 56.8 percent of newly arrived immigrants had no more than a high school education. However, there are more than 3 million native-born workers in Texas who have no more than a high school education. Between 2007 and 2011 the number of native-born Texans with a high school degree or less not working increased by 259,000 and their unemployment rates nearly doubled. It would be very difficult to find evidence that less-educated workers were in short supply in the state.

It must also be remembered that many immigrants are more educated. In fact, 43.2 percent (97,000) of newly arrived immigrants who took a job in Texas had at least some college. Thus it would a mistake to assume that immigrants are only competing for jobs at the bottom end of the labor market.

Data Source:

The Current Population Survey (CPS), also referred as the “household survey”, is the source of data for this analysis. The CPS asks people at their place of residence if they are working. It also asks about their socio-demographic characteristics such as race, education level, age, citizenship, and year of arrival in the United States. Immigrants ,or the foreign-born, are those individuals who were not U.S. citizens at birth and include naturalized citizens, green card holders, guest workers, foreign students, and illegal immigrants. Following the example of other researchers, we use the demographic characteristics of illegal immigrants to estimate the number of illegal immigrants in Texas. In this analysis we compared the second quarter of 2007, before the recession began to the second quarter of 2011, the year for which the most recent data was available.

The above is a press release from from Center for Immigration Studies. 1522 K St. NW, Suite 820, Washington, DC 20005, (202) 466-8185 fax: (202) 466-8076. Email: Contact: Contact: Steven Camarota, (202) 466-8185, The Center for Immigration Studies is an independent research institution which examines the impact of immigration on the United States. The Center for Immigration Studies is not affiliated with any other organization

Jewish immigration to Israel increases by almost 20%

Some 21,300 people made aliya during the Jewish year of 5771, the Jewish Agency for Israel announced on Wednesday – an increase of about 19 percent over the previous year. For the third year in a row Jewish immigration from North America was up, reaching 4,070, opposed to 3,720 in 5770.

“We’re very happy with Nefesh B’Nefesh which has made aliya from North America a lot more attractive, but we haven’t seen a dramatic rise in the numbers and that’s why we believe strengthening Jewish identity will bring more people from North America to Israel,” said JAFI Chairman Natan Sharansky in response to the new numbers.

The largest single group of olim this year, like the one before, came from the former Soviet Union. Some 8,200 people made aliya over the past 12 months from Russia, Ukraine, Moldova, Belarus, the Baltic states and Central Asian countries. But the JAFI chairman shrugged off suggestions this might be the start of a new exodus of Jews from the region.

“Then there were three-million Jews in the USSR,” said the former Refusnik, who was imprisoned by Soviet authorities for years because he wanted to make aliya. “A million went to Israel, a million went elsewhere and now there’s about a million left. Still, it’s one of the biggest Jewish communities that is being both assimilated and strengthening its Jewish identity through summer camps, masa programs and other programs at the same time. I don’t want to get hopes up, but we'll see immigration like this in years to come, but not like during the 90s.”

While aliya from the FSU today may indeed pale in comparison to the great wave of Jewish immigration that took place two decades ago, when hundreds of thousands of Jews left mostly for Israel, the modest resurgence in recent years is surprising considering the overall number of Jews in the region is shrinking.

Another factor setting the current immigration apart from earlier ones is the immigrants’ average age. According to JAFI, over 60% of those who moved to Israel from the FSU over the past 12 months are under the age of 34 – almost double the figures reported in 2005.

“This is a trend that has been increasing: Aliya is younger and better educated,“ Sharansky said. “That’s why JAFI’s activities in the FSU focuses on the young.”

While the largest group of olim may have been from the FSU, the largest proportionate rise in immigration came from Ethiopia. According to JAFI, 2,780 immigrants made aliya from the African country – a hike of 210% from the year before.

The vast majority of Ethiopians making aliya are members of the Falashmura, an ethnic group which claims it was forcibly converted from Judaism to Christianity generations ago. While they would not be eligible to immigrate to the Jewish state under the Law of Return, the government has set up a special track allowing them to immigrate as long as they undergo Orthodox Jewish conversions.

Some 8,000 Falashmura members are expected to make aliya under the current plan, after which the government has said immigration policy from the African country will be the same as the rest of the world. “We promised this will be the last batch and have all the groups in agreement for the first time,” Sharansky said. “After that the policy in Ethiopia will be the same as the one we have elsewhere.” So far, about 2,500 of the 8,000 quota have arrived. The rest are expected to come gradually over the next few years.

Minister of Immigrant Absorption Sofa Landver on Thursday welcomed the rise in the number of olim saying it helped strengthen the Jewish state. “This data demonstrates the continuing trend of rising aliya and the strengthening of Zionism,” said Landver.

“In recent years we have seen consistent aliya, and at this important time the State of Israel must work to maintain the trend and continue to encourage Jews in the Diaspora to immigrate to Israel.”


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