by Marguerite Telford –
Center for Immigration Studies –
Those competing with H-2B visa holders hit the hardest
WASHINGTON (May 12, 2017) – The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ data for the first quarter of 2017 shows abysmal labor force participation, particularly for those without a college education. A new analysis by the Center for Immigration Studies shows that the participation rate has not returned to pre-2007 recession levels, and the rate looks even worse relative to 2000. The unemployment rate has improved in recent years; but the numbers are deceiving, as the official unemployment rate includes only those who have looked for a job in the last four weeks and not those of working-age who are no longer working or looking for work.
Dr. Steven Camarota, the Center’s director of research and author of the analysis, said, “These newest employment numbers show the dismal employment picture for less-educated, low-skilled workers – the vulnerable Americans who compete with H-2B non-agricultural guest worker visa holders for jobs like landscaper, construction worker , housekeeper, waiter, bellhop, or kitchen helper.” Congress recently voted to give DHS Secretary Kelly the authority to more than double the number of H-2B visas issued.
Camarota concluded, “The latest numbers show no evidence of there being a shortage of U.S. workers for these jobs that are presently being filled by foreign workers.”
View the entire report at: http://cis.org/Employment-Situation-Immigrants-Natives-First-Quarter-2017
Among Native-Born Americans:
• The overall unemployment rate for natives in the first quarter of 2017 was 4.9 percent (6.5 million), a dramatic improvement over the peak in the first quarter of 2010 at 10.2 percent. However, the rate is still above the 4.4 percent in the same quarter in 2000.
• The overall unemployment rate obscures the low labor force participation rate, however, especially among those without a college education.
• There has been a long-term decline in the labor force participation rate of working-age (18 to 65) natives without a bachelor’s degree. Only 69.6 percent of natives in this group were in the labor force in the first quarter of 2017; in 2007, before the recession, it was 73.8 percent, and in the first quarter of 2000 it was 76.1 percent.
• The labor force participation rate of natives without a college degree shows no meaningful improvement in the last four years. For example, in the first quarter of 2012 it was actually slightly better than it was in the first quarter of 2017.
• The decline in labor force participation among those without a bachelor’s degree is even more profound when it is measured relative to those who are more educated.
• In the first quarter of 2017, 69.6 percent of natives without a bachelor’s degree were in the labor force, compared to 85.5 percent of those with a bachelor’s degree — a 15.9 percentage-point difference. In the first quarter of 2007, the gap was 12.4 percentage points, and in the first quarter of 2000 the gap was 11.7 percentage points.
• Working-age immigrants without a college education also have not fared well since the recession. Unlike the labor force participation of natives, immigrants without a college education did improve their situation between 2000 and 2007. But it has not returned to 2007 levels. Also like natives, there has been no meaningful progress in the last few years.
• In the first quarter of 2017, the labor force participation rate of immigrants (18 to 65) without a bachelor’s degree was 72.1 percent, somewhat better than that of natives, but still below their rate of 73.4 percent in the first quarter of 2007.
Immigrants and Natives Not in the Labor Force:
• In the first quarter of 2017, there were a total 50.6 million immigrants and natives ages 18 to 65 not in the labor force, up from 43.3 million in 2007 and 37.2 million in 2000.
• Of the 50.6 million currently not in the labor force, 40.7 million (80 percent) did not have a bachelor’s degree.
• The above figures do not include the unemployed, who are considered to be part of the labor force because, although they are not working, they are looking for work. There were almost eight million unemployed immigrants and natives in the first quarter of this year; more than three-fourths of the unemployed do not have a bachelor’s degree.
Contact: Marguerite Telford