2010 October 30 Saturday
Immigrants Displacing Americans In Job Market

American citizens are losing.

In the year since the official end of recesson in the United States, immigrants have seen job growth but native-born workers have continued to lose jobs.

That's the politically explosive conclusion of an analysis released Friday by the Pew Hispanic Center, a nonpartisan research group funded by the Pew Charitable Trusts.

Think about that. I remember as a child that the Democratic Party really aligned with the interests of American workers below the level of management. Industrial unions made up a major source of Democratic Party support. I bet Wall Street gives more to the Democrats today and the people on Wall Street aren't getting displaced from their jobs by illegal aliens. So they see no problem in this report.

The recession is over for the foreign-born. But for natives the recession is still underway.

In the year following the official end of the Great Recession in June 2009, foreign-born workers posted a net gain of 656,000 jobs, while native-born workers lost 1.2 million. The foreign-born category includes legal and illegal immigrants.

Blacks have to be especially hard hit by these results. They more directly compete with unskilled immigrants. But the less educated whites are also hit pretty hard. There was a time when the Democratic Party tried to represent the interests of less skilled blacks and whites. But now it just pretends to. Its elites in the media stand ready to call anyone a xenophobe who dares suggest that the elites are betraying the American people. So the Democrats get a pass on their abandonment of the black and white working class.

Big business wants a bigger population because total sales rise even if sales per customer declines. Big business is far less interested in per capita GDP than in total GDP. So business interests conflict with policies that would tend to raise quality of life (e.g. policies to cut immigration). Since business interests and ethnic group leaders (whose interests also align with larger growth in the sizes of their factions) control the Democratic Party the result is the party supports mass immigration regardless of the effects on existing citizens.

These numbers are a boon for capital since they mean labor costs are lower.

As a result, the unemployment rate for immigrant workers fell 0.6 percentage points during this period (from 9.3% to 8.7%) while for native-born workers it rose 0.5 percentage points (from 9.2% to 9.7%).  

The 2009-2010 recovery for immigrants, who make up 15.7% of the labor force, is also reflected in two other key labor market indicators. A greater share of their working-age population (ages 16 and older) is active in the labor market, evidenced by an increase in the labor force participation rate from 68.0% in the second quarter of 2009 to 68.2% in the second quarter of 2010. Likewise, a greater share is employed, with the employment rate up from 61.7% to 62.3%.  

These gains occurred at a time when native-born workers sustained ongoing losses. The native born engaged less in the labor market (labor force participation rate fell from 65.3% to 64.5%) and a smaller share was employed in the second quarter of 2010 than in the second quarter of 2009 (58.3% vs. 59.3%).

In the battle between capital and labor it is clear that capital is winning.

Update: In an interview Harvard labor economist George Borjas pointed out that immigration causes a shift in wealth from the (mostly poor, lower class) workers that the immigrants compete with to the (mostly more affluent) people who use immigrant labor. Do we really need another cause of wealth redistribution to the upper classes? Aren't the poor already poor enough?

Borjas: Yes. Let me make that very clear. At the time I wrote that initial paper, I was basically taking a relationship out of the labor demand literature—a X% increase in labor would lower wages by Y%.

That meant current immigration had lowered the total wage of natives by about 2%. And all that goes straight to the employers, to the capitalists. In the long, long run, some of that would filter down to the consumers also. But I didn’t do that in my paper. Nobody knows what the breakdown is between consumers and employers.

So the way we freeze the argument is: immigration redistributes wealth from people who compete with immigrants—namely workers who have the same jobs as immigrants—to people who use immigrants. For example, a California family—gardener, the maid, all this stuff.

Click thru and read the whole thing.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2010 October 30 10:52 AM  Immigration Labor Market


Comments
caballarius said at November 2, 2010 2:14 PM:

"Do we really need another cause of wealth redistribution to the upper classes?"

Wealth redistribution is nothing more than theft by government. As is allowing unrestricted immigration. Shut the border; problem(s) solved.

no i don't said at November 2, 2010 4:59 PM:

"Unskilled" immigrant labor might just be what still prevents the U.S. economy from totally collapsing at once.

Johnny Walker said at November 2, 2010 11:22 PM:

It's not just unskilled immigrants. Where I live (Seattle suburbs#, there are thousands
of well paid computer programmers #I'd estimate 10-15k) on H1B. They're completely foreignizing
what used to be a highly paid profession that native born Americans could do. Not anymore.

We're all screwed, when you think about it.

Engineer-Poet said at November 3, 2010 10:47 AM:

It's the oligarchy's war on everyone else, both the poor and the middle class.

Johnny Walker said at November 3, 2010 2:20 PM:

The poor, middle class, and upper middle class. There are the elites and people with public sector
jobs on one side - and everyone else on the other.

I don't really like some of the establishment Republicans that much, but I loathe the Democrats and
liberals. No way can I vote for any of them, with the exception of a Robert Byrd or Byron Dorgan.


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