2007 April 16 Monday
Construction Employment Numbers Distorted By Illegals

The New York Times reports what ParaPundit readers have known for years: Hispanics took most of the jobs in construction over the last few years.

According to the analysis by the Pew Hispanic Center, based on census data, Hispanic immigrants took 60 percent of the million new construction jobs created from 2004 to 2006. Those recently arrived took nearly half.

In spite of a huge bust in the housing market the US Labor Department reports only a small decrease in employment. This probably demonstrates the huge size of the poorly measured illegal alien work force.

The nation’s great housing bust has not shown up so far in official employment data. According to the Labor Department, employment in residential construction has declined by only 28,000 jobs — or some 3 percent — since its peak last fall.

“It is sort of surprising that construction employment numbers haven’t gone down more already,” said David F. Seiders, chief economist at the National Association of Home Builders. “I’m not sure about the quality of the data.”

The statistics seem to belie the debacle that has overwhelmed home building. In February, there were 15 percent fewer homes under construction and 27 percent fewer homes started than in the corresponding month of 2006. In California, 42 percent fewer building permits for new residential units were issued in February than a year earlier.

Real employment can't fall only 3% when homes under construction have dipped by several times that amount.

The article reports that many illegals formerly employed in housing are heading back into agriculture and are travelling north to Oregon and beyond looking for work. What I want to know: when will Mexican and Central American illegal aliens become a significant problem in British Columbia?

Also, how much has demand for food stamps, Medicaid, WIC, and other social programs gone up due to illegals with American-born children who have lost their jobs in construction?

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2007 April 16 09:54 PM  Immigration Labor Market

John S Bolton said at April 17, 2007 1:30 AM:

This might also reflect the high seasonality of construction employment, so that
many are still counted as working in that sector even though they haven't worked more than sporadically in six months or more.
Last year, I tried to warn of the effect of having such a large third-world component among builders, on the prospects for the volume of housebuilding, out on the metropolitan peripheries.
The desirability of new-home districts is largely controlled by the relative desirability of their school districts.
Insofar as the children of builders, from low-achieving, elevated crime rate, and alternative welfare-absorbing, largely illegal, backgrounds,
are allowed to swiftly increase their percentage of the very school districts' enrollment,
which are the greater selling points of the new developments' inventory,
it must be expected that the housebuilding will fall off.
For a while, there can be a shift to more exclusionary districts,
where higher house prices mean also more labor involved in the construction of each new one,
but illegals are , more and more, getting away with putting not only
adults at disease-inducing densities, into housing units in high-priced areas,
but their children as well.
Thus, before it is even 1/4th developed, a district can slump over into
a death spiral of swarming illegals, spawning hordes of bilingual teenage illiterates,
and become the welfare-grabbing suburb that all decent people avoid.

Evil Progressive said at April 17, 2007 6:29 AM:

This shows one thing: that Americans are too lazy to take on hard work.

Thomas said at April 17, 2007 6:42 AM:

Not for slave wages. When the raised the hourly pay rate was raised at a meatpacking plant in the Midwest, plenty of Americans lined up for what I can tell you from experience is nasty, hard, bloody work.

Peter Jones said at April 17, 2007 6:45 AM:

I know that it is a favored past-time of many here to coat-off Hispanics at every available opportunity, but the fact is they do actually *work* and work at hard physical occupations.
The contrast with current crop of 3rd world professional welfare recipients flooding Europe (All from Asia and Africa), is striking.

Thomas said at April 17, 2007 7:43 AM:

Mr. Jones,
Nobody is disputing the fact that hispanic illegals do work, and sometimes very hard. I have seen it myself. The problem is that they are driving down wages for the working and middle class. The wealthy in this nation love the idea of cheap labor and so does big business. I don't know how paying an illegal Mexican, say $3 dollars an hour is an improvement over paying an American say $10. It is not a good thing that skilled American tradesmen are being undercut by illegal labor. Not to mention that illegals use more in services than they pay in taxes. Many poorer American do as well, true, but as Americans shouldn't it stay within the family to to speak? No money leaves the nation as wire transfers either. If we are going to provide free services to people 9and I don't know that we should, but that is another debate), why shouldn't citizens get it?
And JS Bolton is correct about the effect of illegals here in the US regarding the housing and disease. We have the benefits of having outbreaks of drug resistant TB, chagas and food borne illnesses due to these people. Out here in northern NJ, it is not unusual to see single family dwellings housing 7 or 8 families, sometimes more. Zoning is not enforced because certain individuals in gov't here at the state, city and local level in NJ have a vested interest in having the place swarm with illegals. Slimeball Menendez here in Jersey City recently sent "campaign workers" to my place looking for votes. I couldn't tell if she was even speaking Spanish.

Big Bill said at April 17, 2007 9:45 AM:

Mr. Jones, there are 4.95 Billion third worlders who work even harder and make even less than your typical Mexican peasant. And I have even more sympathy for them.

You see, the world is positively lousy with hard workers who are totally incapable by intelligence, disposition, culture and morality to be anything other than peasants. They stay alive by busting their hump even more than Mexicans do. That is why Mexicans, their police and their soldiers expel, attack,rape and kill them when they try to get into Mexico across its southern border.

The issue is not the nobility of work, but the fact that they are extremely expensive to support and are a dead loss to our society ... unless we are willing to culturally devolve to a much more barbarian and brutal state such as the one they have created in Mexico, their own country.

Of course, if you would like to take on cultural and social uplift of Mexicans here in the USA, I honor you. If you would like to sponsor some of them (and their babies) and be responsible for their education, medical, retirement, fire protection, police protection and the like, then let me be the first one to applaud your noble and Christian commitment.

Unfortunately, with children of my own to support, educate, feed, clothe, house and medicate, I really cannot afford to take on them and their children as well, no matter how hard they work, God Bless 'Em. And that is why they are better suited to their own country and culture.

We do differ in one regard. I do not honor sweating for the sake of sweating. I prefer a man who works smart, not hard. In fact, one of the wonderful things about our country is how we learned to use our brains to make our life easier. There is no nobility in suffering for suffering's sake.

Mark said at April 18, 2007 7:38 PM:

Interesting observation.

Maybe next time a recession hits, instead of giving already rich people tax cuts, we should just deport more Mexicans. That seems like a much more effective way of generating jobs for Americans than the convoluted change of taxes approach.

Sam said at April 18, 2007 8:50 PM:

Why wait?

D Flinchum said at April 19, 2007 3:27 PM:

True, that, even with the building boom, the wages of construction workers went down. If construction workers can't prosper in a building boom, when can they prosper? And BTW did you see housing prices decline during the boom? No - they soared so somebody was making out like a bandit. Guess who.

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