2006 April 03 Monday
Americans Driven Out Of Labor Force By Immigrants

The latest bad news report from the Center for Immigration Studies:

• Looking first at all workers shows that between March 2000 and March 2005 only 9 percent of the net increase in jobs for adults (18 to 64) went to natives. This is striking because natives accounted for 61 percent of the net increase in the overall size of the 18 to 64 year old population.

• As for the less-educated, between March of 2000 and 2005 the number of adult immigrants (legal and illegal) with only a high school degree or less in the labor force increased by 1.6 million.

• At the same time, unemployment among less-educated adult natives increased by nearly one million, and the number of natives who left the labor force altogether increased by 1.5 million. Persons not in the labor force are neither working nor looking for work.

• In total, there are 11.6 million less-educated adult immigrants in the labor force, nearly half of whom are estimated to be illegal aliens.

• Of perhaps greatest concern, the percentage of adult natives without a high school degree who are in the labor force fell from 59 to 56 percent between March 2000 and 2005, and for adult natives with only a high school degree participation in the labor force fell from 78 to 75 percent.

• Had labor force participation remained the same, there would have been an additional 450,000 adult native dropouts and 1.4 million adult natives with only a high school degree in the labor force.

• Data collected since Hurricane Katrina, in January 2006, show no improvement in labor force participation for less-educated natives. It shows a modest improvement in unemployment only for adult native dropouts, but not for natives with only a high school degree.

• The decline in less-educated adult natives (18 to 64) in the labor market does not seem to be the result of more parents staying home with young children, increased college enrollment, or early retirement.

• There is some direct evidence that immigration has harmed less-educated natives; states with the largest increase in immigrants also saw larger declines in natives working; and in occupational categories that received the most new immigrants, native unemployment averages 10 percent.

• While most natives are more educated, and don’t face competition from less-educated immigrants, detailed analysis of 473 separate occupations shows that 17 million less-educated adult natives work in occupations with a high concentrations of immigrants.

• Some of the occupations most impacted by immigration include maids, construction laborers, dishwashers, janitors, painters, cabbies, grounds keepers, and meat/poultry workers. The overwhelming majority of workers in these occupations are native-born.

• The workers themselves are not the only thing to consider; nearly half of American children (under 18) are dependent on a less-educated worker, and 71 percent of children of the native-born working poor depend on a worker with a high school degree or less.

• Native-born teenagers (15 to 17) also saw their labor force participation fall — from 30 percent in 2000 to 24 percent in 2005.

• Wage data show little evidence of a labor shortage. Wage growth for less-educated natives has generally lagged behind wage increases for more educated workers.

Automation has reduced the demand for manual laborers and manual labor wages have declined as a result. International trade with countries which have very low wages has also decreased demand at the bottom. Given that the native workers with lower levels of intelligence and fewer skills already are taking it in the chin from these factors why pile on them and make their lives even harder by importing millions of low skilled laborers?

Some argue there are jobs Americans just won't do. But in the dwindling number of areas of America not yet hit by the Hispanic immigrant deluge Americans do collect trash, wash dishes, clean hotel rooms, dig ditches, and all the other jobs at the bottom. They already earn very low salaries. Why drive their salaries even lower?

Immigrants from relatively poorer countries find low US manual labor wages a step up from what they were paid in Mexico, Central America, and other less developed countries. But their children who grow up here will see US wages from a vantage point more like that of natives. So if they do not achieve at the level of American whites they are likely to feel some resentment and some sense that the system is not fair.

Some Open Borders advocates point at negative attitudes toward work found in some lower class Americans and justify use of immigrants as a way to avoid dealing with bad attitudes in America's lower classes. But the Open Borders advocates ought to ask themselves whether it is reasonable to expect the children and grandchildren of current immigrants to be immune to the influences which have shaped the descendants of previous generations of immigrants. Given that our current wave of immigrants is expanding the lower classes more rapidly than it expands the middle and upper classes we aren't just demoralizing the lower classes. We are making them a bigger fraction of society.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2006 April 03 08:49 PM  Immigration Societal Decay

John S Bolton said at April 3, 2006 11:16 PM:

Which is the purpose of the entire exercise. The right are just dupes of power-seekers on these issues. From the power-seekers point of view: the worse, the better.

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