You’ve heard the old saw: A recession is when your neighbor is unemployed. A depression is when you are.
In a recent speech, Obama said the Senate immigration reform bill would grow the economy 5 percent over the next 20 years, or by $1.4 trillion, and cut the deficit by $850 billion.
“Immigration reform would make it easier for highly-skilled immigrants and those who study at our colleges and universities to start businesses and create jobs right here in America. Foreign companies would be more likely to invest here. The demand for goods and services would go up – creating more jobs for American workers.”
How are things working out right now? According to a Bureau of Labor Statistics household survey, in June the unemployment rate for native born Americans was 8.1 percent. For foreign born, making no distinction for legal or illegal residency that I could find, the unemployment rate was 6.5 percent.
The Center for Immigration Studies looked at job stats for the years 2000 to 2013 and found “all of the net gain in employment over the last 13 years has gone to immigrants (legal and illegal).”
Between the first quarter of 2000 and the first quarter of 2013, the native-born population accounted for two-thirds of overall growth in the working-age population (16 to 65), but none of the net growth in employment among the working-age has gone to natives.
The overall size of the working-age 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.
Even before the recession, when the economy was expanding (2000 to 2007), 60 percent of the net increase in employment among the working-age went to immigrants, even though they accounted for just 38 percent of population growth among the working-age population.