All Georgia’s Employment Growth Since 2000 Has Gone To Immigrants

by Marguerite Telford –
Center For Immigration Studies –

WASHINGTON, DC (September 11, 2014) —The Gang of Eight immigration bill (S.744) passed last June would have roughly doubled the number of new foreign workers allowed into the country, as well as legalize illegal immigrants, partly on the grounds that there is a labor shortage. Many business groups and political leaders in Georgia supported the legislation. In a new study the Center for Immigration Studies examines government data to see if there is evidence of a labor shortage. The analysis shows that since 2000, all of the net increase in the number of working-age (16 to 65) people holding a job in Georgia has gone to immigrants (legal and illegal). This is the case even though the native-born accounted for 54 percent of growth in the state’s total working-age population. Even worse, the labor force participation rate of Georgia’s natives shows no improvement through the first part of this year despite the economic recovery.

View the entire report at: http://cis.org/georgia-employment-growth-since-2000-went-to-immigrants

“There are a huge number of working-age people in Georgia not working and labor force participation remains at record lows. Thus, it is remarkable that any of the state’s leaders would support legislation that would actually increase the number of foreign workers allowed into the country,” observed Steven Camarota, the Center’s Director of Research and lead author of the report.

Among the findings:

• The total number of working-age (16 to 65) immigrants (legal and illegal) holding a job in Georgia increased by 400,000 from the first quarter of 2000 to the first quarter of 2014, while the number of working-age natives with a job declined by 71,000 over the same time.

• The fact that all the long-term net gain in employment among the working age went to immigrants is striking because natives accounted for 54 percent of the increase in the total size of the state’s working-age population.

• In the first quarter of this year, only 64 percent of working-age natives in the state held a job. As recently as 2000, 74 percent of working-age natives in Georgia were working.

• Because the native working-age population in Georgia grew significantly, but the share working actually fell, there were 684,000 more working-age natives not working in the first quarter of 2014 than in 2000 — a 52 percent increase.

• Perhaps most troubling is that the labor force participation rate (share working or looking for work) of Georgia’s working-age natives has not improved even after the jobs recover began in 2010.

• In fact, the labor force participation of natives in Georgia shows a long term decline with the rate lower at the last economic peak in 2007 than at the prior peak in 2000.

• The supply of potential workers in Georgia is very large: In the first quarter of 2014, 2 million working-age natives were not working (unemployed or entirely out of the labor market) as were 208,000 working-age immigrants.

• In terms of the labor-force participation rate among working-age natives, the state ranks 36th in the nation.

• Two key conclusion from the state’s employment situation:

First, the long-term decline in the employment for natives in Georgia and the enormous number of working-age natives not working clearly indicates that there is no general labor shortage in the state. Thus it is very difficult to justify the large increases in foreign workers (skilled and unskilled) allowed into the country in a bill like S.744.

Second, Georgia working-age immigrant population grew 167 percent from 2000 to 2014, one of the highest of any state in the nation. Yet the number of work-age native working in 2014 was actually lower than in 2000. This undermines the argument that immigration on balance increases job opportunities for natives.

Contact: Marguerite Telford
202-466-8185, mrt@cis.org

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