Friday, November 2, 2012

Immigrants Main Beneficiaries of Net Increase in U.S. Jobs

Two-thirds of Employment Growth during Obama’s Term Went to Foreign-born

A new analysis of government data by the Center for Immigration Studies shows that two-thirds of the net increase in employment since President Obama took office has gone to immigrant workers, primarily legal immigrants. Although total immigration has fallen in recent years, legal immigration remains very high. While economists debate the extent to which immigrants displace natives, the new data makes clear that a general labor shortage does not exist. This analysis calls into question the wisdom of bringing in more than one million new legal immigrants each year. The complete study can be found here.

Steve Camarota, the Center’s Director of Research, points out, "It is extraordinary that most of the employment growth in the last four years has gone to foreign-born workers. But what is even more extraordinary is that the issue has not even come up during the presidential election."

Among the findings of this analysis:

*    Since President Obama took office 67% of employment growth has gone to immigrants (legal and illegal).
*   There were 1.94 million more immigrants (legal and illegal) working in the 3rd quarter of 2012 than at the start of 2009, when the president took office. This compares to a 938,000 increase for the native-born over the same time period.
 *   Most of the growth in immigrant employment went to newly arrived immigrants, rather than immigrants already in the country. Some 1.6 million new immigrant workers have arrived from abroad since the start of 2009 – we estimate 70 to 90 percent entered legally.
*    Immigrants made employment gains across the labor market. In occupations where immigrant gains were the largest, there were 2.2 million unemployed natives.
*    A large share of employment growth was already going to immigrants well before the president took office. However, he has taken steps to increase the level of job competition from foreign-born workers.

*       He offered work authorization to an estimated 2 million illegal immigrants who arrived in the country before age 16 – nearly 200,000 of whom have applied so far.

*       When auditing employers who hire illegal workers the administration, as a matter of policy, does not detain the illegal workers, allowing them to seek other employment.

 *      The administration called on the Supreme Court in 2010 to strike down Arizona’s law requiring employers to verify the legal status of new workers.

 *  Natives have done better in the labor market recently. From the 3rd quarter of 2011 to the 3rd quarter of 2012, two-thirds of employment growth went to native-born workers.
 *  Despite recent improvements, in the third quarter of 2012 there was a huge number of working-age (18 to 65) native-born Americans not employed:

7.6 million with less than a high school education (18 to 65)

18.1 million with only a high school education (18 to 65)

15.8 million with some college (18 to 65)

9.2 million college graduates (18 to 65)

*   Some people who are not working do not wish to work. However, the broad measure of unemployment that includes those who’ve given up looking for a job, shows a dismal picture for adult natives (18+) in the third quarter of 2012:

30.8% for high school dropouts

18.1% for those only a high school education

13.8% for those with some college

8% for all college graduates, 13% for college graduates under age 30.

*    While significantly more immigrants are presently working, their unemployment rate remains high and the share of working age adults (18-65) holding a job has only slightly improved since the president took office.

Discussion: The net increase in employment over the president’s term is 938,000 for the native-born and 1.94 million for immigrants. Of course, many jobs are created and lost each month, and many workers change jobs each month. But, by examining the number of people working, this report measures the net effect of the churn in employment. Like the outcome of day spent at a casino, it is the end result of losses and gains that matter. And that is what this study reports.

To be sure, the president inherited an immigration system that allows a million permanent immigrants and several hundred thousand guest workers to be admitted each year. But neither President Obama nor Congress has been willing to modify this system. And while there is no question that the labor market was deteriorating before the president took office, as discussed above he has taken a number of steps that have actually increased job competition for native-born workers.

Economists debate the extent of job competition between immigrants and natives. Research by the Federal Reserve Board, the National Bureau Economic Research, and others finds that immigration does displace natives. But there is not a consensus among economists. What we can say is that in occupations where immigrants made the largest gains, there are currently millions of unemployed native-born Americans. The newest data also shows an enormous number of working-age native-born Americans not employed across the labor market. Given these findings, it is unfortunate that both presidential candidates have chosen not to even discuss possible job competition between immigrants and natives.

Data Source: Data for the report comes from the “household survey” (also called the Current Population Survey or CPS). The CPS, the nation’s primary source of information on the labor force, asks respondents about their socio-demographic characteristics such as race, education level, citizenship and year of arrival in the United States.

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: Steve 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

Asylum seekers in Australia told of no-advantage rule

IMMIGRATION Minister Chris Bowen says he has explained to asylum seekers on Nauru that they will not go to the head of the queue in their claims to come to Australia.

Mr Bowen visited Australia's offshore processing detention centres on the Pacific Island of Nauru and Papua New Guinea's Manus Island in early October.

"I have spoken to the people in the centre at Nauru, and I have explained the no-advantage principle to them to their face," Mr Bowen told ABC television on Wednesday.  "I have told them that it is a period of years, and talked that through."

The principle was to deter people arriving by boat without a visa as they would not gain an advantage over those who waited in a queue in refugee camps.

On Wednesday, Mr Bowen introduced legislation to remove the migration rights from any asylum seeker arriving by boat on the Australian mainland.  The measure is one of the recommendations from the Houston expert panel handed to the government in August.

Mr Bowen defended his and Labor's change of mind on the policy.

In 2006, Labor opposed the measure when then prime minister John Howard tried and failed to excise the Australian mainland from the migration zone.

"If I have a choice between saving somebody's life and being entirely consistent with something I said in 2006, well, I'll go for saving the life, thanks very much," he told ABC radio earlier on Wednesday.

He said not every party had the same position in 2012 as it did in 2006.  "In 2006, the Liberal Party supported putting a price on carbon for example," Mr Bowen said.

The Immigration Department confirmed two asylum seekers attempted self-harm at the detention facility on Nauru.

A spokesman for the department said the two people had been treated on Wednesday by health services provider International Health and Medical Services (IHMS) for superficial injuries.  "They have since returned to their accommodation," he told AAP.

Two more asylum seeker boats have been intercepted, both detected late on Tuesday off Christmas Island. One was carrying 51 passengers and two crew and the other carried 12 passengers.

The increase in the number of boat arrivals was likely to blow the government's aim of a budget surplus for 2012/13, opposition immigration spokesman Scott Morrison said.

Mr Bowen introduced two bills to parliament on Tuesday requesting appropriation of the money needed to implement the recommendations of the Houston expert panel on asylum seekers.

It comes at a cost of $1.67 billion in 2012/13 and includes $267 million to build regional asylum seeker processing centres in Nauru and Manus Island.

Mr Morrison said before the mid-year budget update the estimated cost of processing and accommodating asylum seekers was $4.97 billion.  "That figure today is up to $5.4 billion for this financial year and out over the forward estimates is $6.6 billion," Mr Morrison told parliament.

In the May budget the government had estimated 450 people a month would arrive in 2012/13.  That figure had blown out to 2000 each month, Mr Morrison said.


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