2009 May 01 Friday
Immigrant Unemployment In US Hits High

The Center for Immigration Studies reports immigrant unemployment is now 9.7% in the United States.

  • Immigrant unemployment in the first quarter of 2009 was 9.7 percent, the highest level since 1994, when data began to be collected for immigrants. The current figure for natives is 8.6 percent, also the highest since 1994.

  • The immigrant unemployment rate is now 5.6 percentage points higher than in the third quarter of 2007, before the recession began. Native unemployment has increased 3.8 percentage points over the same period.

  • Among immigrants who arrived in 2006 or later unemployment is 13.3 percent.

  • The number of unemployed immigrants increased 1.3 million (130 percent) since the third quarter of 2007. Among natives the increase was five million (81 percent).

  • Looking at the number of immigrants holding a job shows a drop of 2.1 million (9 percent) from the third quarter of 2007 to the first quarter of this year. For natives, the drop was 4.5 million (4 percent).

  • There is no way to know if the current trend will continue, but these very high unemployment rates for immigrants and natives raises the question of whether it makes sense to continue admitting so many new immigrants. In FY 2008, some 1.45 million new immigrants (temporary and permanent) were given work authorization.

Steve Sailer asks why aren't we paying the unemployed illegals to leave. Offer any illegal a free ride home as long as they consent to fingerprinting, photograph, and DNA sample to allow identification in case they try to return.

Where illegals are removed from workplaces the salaries for lower income manual labor goes up.

  • As is the case in the entire industry, work at the six Swift plants is characterized by difficult and dangerous conditions.
  • Like the rest of the industry, workers at these facilities have seen a steady decline in their standard of living. Government data show that the average wages of meatpackers in 2007 were 45 percent lower than in 1980, adjusted for inflation.
  • We estimate that 23 percent of Swift’s production workers were illegal immigrants.
  • All facilities resumed production on the same day as the raids. All returned to full production within five months. This is an indication that the plants could operate at full capacity without the presence of illegal workers.
  • There is good evidence that after the raids the number of native-born workers increased significantly. But Swift would not provide information on how its workforce has changed. Swift also has recruited a large number of refugees who are legal immigrants.
  • At the four facilities for which we were able to obtain information, wages and bonuses rose on average 8 percent with the departure of illegal immigrants.
  • There is a widespread perception among union officials, workers, and others in these communities that if pay and working conditions were improved, it would be dramatically easier to recruit legal workers (immigrant and native).

In the face of the biggest economic downturn since the Great Depression Barack Obama and Democrats in Congress are promoting a big immigrant amnesty. They call this "comprehensive immigration reform". I see it as a labor-breaking tactic which is just what we can expect from that Democratic Party of big business.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2009 May 01 12:15 AM  Immigration Labor Market

Ned said at May 1, 2009 6:05 AM:

"I see it as a labor-breaking tactic which is just what we can expect from that Democratic Party of big business."

This is an interesting point. Generally the Democratic party is seen as friendly to labor, but, in reality, maybe not so much. Certain business interests favor lots of immigration so they can have a continuous supply of docile, cheap workers who can be fired or threatened with deportation if they make trouble or try to form a union. This fact is well known to the Democrats and their labor allies. However, it may be the policy of the Democratic party to buy off the unions by giving them big shares of zombie companies like GM or Chrysler and then turning around and screwing them on immigration. It will be interesting to see how the card check legislation fares. The unions really want it and business strongly opposes it. The Democrats won't be able to have their cake and eat it too on that one.

C1ON said at May 1, 2009 12:59 PM:

OPERATION: br,bl alien [ WET-BACK II ] 2OO9'


C1ON said at May 1, 2009 1:03 PM:

South American Parasitic Disease - Infests US Blood Supply!



Facts About Disease , So-called legal and illegal Aliens


Audacious Epigone said at May 1, 2009 2:58 PM:

I feel perverse in thinking this, but with a new Democratic super majority in the Senate, the Mexican flu scare could not have come at a better time.

Aki_Izayoi said at May 2, 2009 8:32 AM:

Randall, you are a smart guy

You should read this.


I love the analysis offered here.

What about globalization? Isn't that a labor breaking tactic too?

Randall Parker said at May 2, 2009 9:46 AM:


That is an interesting essay that I'm still reading as I type this. Yes, I fear that the general thrust of the argument is correct. We are going to have a slower growing economy as more people get shifted into less productive work by government. Immigration is also going to shift more productive people into less productive work.

Globalization as labor-breaking tactic: Yes, of course. It is less damaging than immigration in the long run though.

Randall Parker said at May 2, 2009 1:38 PM:


Whether a bull market in politics produces positive results depends on the motives and beliefs of the bulls. Our elites are pursuing expanded government power based on false premises. Their environmentalist assumptions for racial and sexual differences in performance translate into damaging policies. Also, their innumeracy and faith in their assumptions mean they miss interventions with positive returns while they pour resources and distortions into interventions that are doomed for failure.

Blognormaldiffusion said at May 3, 2009 12:53 PM:

While the essay "TheBullMarketinPolitics" is provocative and has some correct observations, it is hard to take seriously an economic analysis of Europe, Japan, and China that doesn't address the dysfunctional inverted pyramid demographics soon to plague all 3 zones. The world has never seen an economy in which the 65+ cohort is >> than the 15- cohort. And yet 3 major economies will get there at the same time. Russia, on the other hand, will essentially evaporate, with just a Muslim sub-population retaining any demographic vigor. Not a pretty prospect.

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