All Employment Growth in Last Decade Went to Immigrants


A Center for Immigration Studies analysis of government data shows that from the first quarter of 2000 to the first quarter of 2013 the number of native-born Americans holding a job fell by 1.3 million, even though the overall size of the working-age (16 to 65) native population increased by 16.4 million. Over the same time period, the number of immigrants (legal and illegal) working increased 5.3 million. There has also been a broad decline in the percentage of natives holding a job, impacting almost every age, education level, and race.

The main justification for the large increases in permanent immigration and guest workers in the Schumer-Rubio bill (S.744) is that the nation does not have enough workers. But in the first quarter of this year nearly 59 million working-age natives were not working — unemployed or entirely out of the labor force. This figure is little changed in the last three years and is almost 18 million larger than in 2000.

“Given the employment situation, the dramatic increases in legal immigration in the Gang of Eight immigration bill seems grossly out of touch with the realities of the U.S. labor market,” observed Steven Camarota, the report’s co-author and the Center’s Director of Research.

Among the report’s findings (all figures compare first quarter employment).

  • The overall size of the working-age (16 to 65) native-born population increased by 16.4 million from 2000 to 2013, yet the number of natives actually holding a job was 1.3 million lower in 2013 than 2000.
  • The total number of working-age immigrants (legal and illegal) increased 8.8 million, and the number working rose 5.3 million between 2000 and 2013.
  • Since the jobs recovery began in 2010, about half the employment growth has gone to immigrants. However the share of working-age (16 to 65) natives holding a job has remained virtually unchanged and as has the number not working — nearly 59 million.
  • The decline in the share of natives working, also referred as the employment rate, began before the 2007 recession. In 2000 74 percent of working-age natives had a job, by 2007 at the peak of the last expansion just 71 percent worked, and in the first quarter of 2013 66 percent had a job.
  • The decline in employment rates for working-age natives has been nearly universal. The share of native teenagers as well as those in their 20s, 30s, 40s and 50s declined from 2000 to 2007 and from 2007 to 2013. The decline for those under 30 has been especially pronounced.
  • The employment rate declined for natives of virtually every education level from 2000 to 2007 and from 2007 to 2013.
  • The number of adult natives with no more than a high school education not working is up 4.9 million since 2000, it is up 6.8 million for those with some college and up 3.8 million for those with at least a bachelor’s degree.
  • The decline in work, which began before 2007, has impacted men and women; as well as blacks, Hispanics and whites. Native-born men, blacks, and Hispanics have been hit the hardest.
  • During the five years prior to 2013 (2008-2012), about 5.4 million new immigrants (legal and illegal) of all ages arrived in the United States. In the 5 years prior to 2007, about 6.6 million new immigrants arrived. Thus during the worst economic slowdown in the last 75 years, immigration fell by only 17 percent compared to the expansion of 2002-2006.

View the Senate bill, CIS Senate testimony and commentary at:

All opinions expressed on USDR are those of the author and not necessarily those of US Daily Review.

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