Among the findings:
- The total number of working-age (16 to 65) immigrants (legal and illegal) holding a job in North Carolina increased by 313,000 from the first quarter of 2000 to the first quarter of 2014, while the number of working-age natives with a job declined by 32,000 over the same time.
- The fact that all of the long-term net gain in employment among the working-age went to immigrants is striking because natives accounted for 61 percent of the increase in the total size of the state’s working-age population.
- In the first quarter of this year, only 64 percent of working-age natives in the state held a job. As recently as 2000, 74 percent of working-age natives in North Carolina were working.
- Because the native working-age population in North Carolina grew significantly, but the share working actually fell, there were 720,000 more working-age natives not working in the first quarter of 2014 than in 2000 — a 56 percent increase.
- The supply of potential workers in North Carolina is very large: In the first quarter of 2014, two million working-age natives [that’s @ 22% of the state’s pop!-Roger] were not working (unemployed or entirely out of the labor market), as were 201,000 working-age immigrants.
- In fact, the labor-force participation of natives in North Carolina shows a near uninterrupted 14-year decline.
- Two key conclusion from the state’s employment situation:
- First, the long-term decline in employment for natives in North Carolina and the enormous number of working-age natives not working clearly indicate that there is no general labor shortage in the state. Thus, it is very difficult to justify the large increases in foreign workers (skilled and unskilled) that would be allowed into the country in a bill like S.744 that many of the state’s politicians support.
- Second, North Carolina’s working-age immigrant population grew 146 percent from 2000 to 2014, one of the highest rates of any state in the nation. Yet the number of natives working in 2014 was actually lower than in 2000. This undermines the argument that immigration increases job opportunities for natives.
The situation isn’t any better for the country as a whole either:
Congressional Budget Office projections indicate that if the Schumer-Rubio bill (S.744) becomes law, the number of new legal immigrants allowed into the country will roughly double to 20 million over the next decade, adding to the 40 million immigrants (legal and illegal) already here.1 This increase is in addition to the legalization of illegal immigrants already in the country. The primary argument for this dramatic increase is, as Republican congressman Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) has argued, that without it the country faces “labor shortages”. The National Restaurant Association, National Association of Home Builders, National Association of Manufacturers, Business Roundtable, U.S. Chamber Commence, and numerous other companies and business associations have all argued that immigration should be increased because there are not enough workers in the country — both skilled and unskilled. This report examines employment trends for immigrants and natives to see if potential workers are, in fact, in short supply.
Among the findings:
- The total number of working-age (16 to 65) immigrants (legal and illegal) holding a job increased 5.7 million from the first quarter of 2000 to the first quarter of 2014, while declining 127,000 for natives.
- In the first quarter of 2000, there were 114.8 million working-age natives holding a job; in the first quarter of 2014 it was 114.7 million.
- Because the native-born population grew significantly, but the number working actually fell, there were 17 million more working-age natives not working in the first quarter of 2014 than in 2000.
- Immigrants have made gains across the labor market, including lower-skilled jobs such as maintenance, construction, and food service; middle-skilled jobs like office support and health care support; and higher-skilled jobs, including management, computers, and health care practitioners.
- The long-term decline in the share of working-age natives holding a job began before the 2007 recession, falling from 74 percent in 2000 to 71 percent in 2007. It is now an abysmal 66 percent, improving only slightly since the bottom of the recession.
- Immigration has fallen in recent years. But despite the economy, between 2008 and the start of 2014 6.5 million new immigrants (legal and illegal) settled in the country and three million got jobs. Over the same time, the number of working-age natives holding a job declined 3.4 million.
- The supply of potential workers is enormous: 8.7 million native college graduates are not working, as are 17 million with some college, and 25.3 million with no more than a high school education.
Three conclusions can be drawn from this analysis:
- First, the long-term decline in the employment for natives across age and education levels is a clear indication that there is no general labor shortage, which is a primary justification for the large increases in immigration (skilled and unskilled) in the Schumer-Rubio bill and similar House proposals.
- Second, the decline in work among the native-born over the last 14 years of high immigration is consistent with research showing that immigration reduces employment for natives.
- Third, the trends since 2000 challenge the argument that immigration on balance increases job opportunities for natives. Over 17 million immigrants arrived in the country in the last 14 years, yet native employment has deteriorated significantly.
Immigration gives us criminal organisations, diseases, bed bugs and high unemployment. Are there any good things? Oh, yeah, I forgot about burritos.