“Although there has been some recovery from the Great Recession, fewer working-age natives held a job in the first quarter of 2014 than in 2000, while the number of immigrants with a job rose 5.7 million above the 2000 level,” CIS announced.
The impetus for the report is S.744, sponsored by Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and passed by the Senate.
If Schumer-Rubio becomes law, according to Congressional Budget Office projections, the number of new legal immigrants allowed into the country will roughly double to 20 million over the next decade, adding to the 40 million immigrants (legal and illegal) already here.
Rubio and Schumer said the law was needed to prevent “labor shortages” in the U.S.
“With 58 million working-age natives not working, the Schumer-Rubio bill and similar House measures, which would substantially increase the number of foreign workers allowed in the country, seem entirely disconnected from the realities of the U.S. labor market,” Steven Camarota, co-author of the report and the Center's director of research, said in a statement.
These statistics are particularly remarkable, the report states, given that native-born Americans account for two-thirds of the growth rate of the working-age population.
CIS drew three conclusions from the data it studied and analyzed:
• The long-term decline in the employment for natives across age and education levels is a clear indication that there is no general labor shortage, a primary justification for the large increases in immigration (skilled and unskilled) in the Schumer-Rubio bill and similar House proposals.
• The decline in work among the native-born over the last 14 years of high immigration is consistent with research showing that immigration reduces employment for natives.
• The trends since 2000 challenge the argument that immigration on balance increases job opportunities for natives. Over 17 million immigrants arrived in the country in the last 14 years, a time period in which native employment has deteriorated significantly.
CIS describes its methodology for the report as follows:
“This analysis is based on the ‘household survey’ collected by the Census Bureau for the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The survey, officially known as the Current Population Survey (CPS), is the nation’s primary source of information on the U.S. labor market.
“The CPS survey does not include those in institutions such as prisons. We concentrate in this analysis on the first quarter of each year 2000 to 2014 because comparing the same quarter over time controls for seasonality and the first quarter of 2014 is the most recent quarterly data available. We also emphasize the economic peaks in 2000 and 2007 as important points of comparison.
“We primarily focus on the share of working-age people holding a job, referred to by economists as the employment rate. The employment rate is a straightforward measure of who has a job and who does not. To a lesser extent we examine labor force participation, which is the share of people working or looking for work. Labor force participation and the employment rate are measures of labor force attachment that are less sensitive to the business cycle than the often-cited unemployment rate, which we also report.”