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Foreign born employment rises, native born plummets

Conservative Review

The headline news from today’s BLS employment report is that 151,000 jobs were created in August. While that number is below expectations, the unemployment rate remained unchanged at 4.9 percent. However, there is one caveat you won’t read in the economic news from the financial reporters: all of the job gains went to foreign-born workers.

While BLS’s Establishment Survey of businesses reports a net gain from 151,000 non-farm payroll jobs, the Household Survey, which incorporates a wide array of Census and demographic data and provides the topline unemployment rates, paints a grimmer picture.

According to the Household Survey, the number of foreign-born workers employed in this country increased by 150,000 in August – from 25.984 million to 26.134 million. Meanwhile, the number of native-born individuals working in this country actually decreased by 783,000 – from 126.453 million to 125.670 million.

To begin with, 151,000 new payroll jobs is mediocre given that it doesn’t even keep up with the population growth. The civilian employment-age population grew by 234,000 during August, according to the Household Survey. The fact that native-born employment plummeted by almost 800,000 is downright disastrous, especially coupled with the recent news from the Bureau of Economic Analysis that GDP has grown by an annualized rate of less than one percent this year.

A lethargic economy that has defied the half-century-long business cycle and skipped a period of prosperity following the Great Recession is bad enough. Our job market is clearly inverted, as demonstrated by the fact t, relative to the population growth, almost all of the net increase in new jobs over the past decade has benefited immigrants. Keep in mind, although the foreign-born population is close to an all-time high, immigrants still represents “only” 13.5 percent of the population.

An economy built on cheap labor for a few select sectors not only drives down wages and growth for native-born citizens, it’s also bad for immigrants. Despite the low unemployment rate among foreign born workers – just 4.4 percent – poverty among immigrants is near an all-time high, according to Pew Research. In 1970, the poverty rate among immigrants stood at 18 percent, only slightly higher than the 14 percent of the native-born population. Now the poverty rate among immigrants has grown to 28 percent compared to 15 percent among native-born Americans. Concurrently, 87 percent of illegal immigrant families and 72% of legal immigrant families are on welfare.

How is it that all the job gains are going to immigrants, yet poverty and welfare use has skyrocketed among the foreign born population in recent years? What gives?

As I’ve noted before, this dichotomy is a clear illustration that the influx of low skilled workers, largely from third world nations, is doing nothing to grow the economy and create upward mobility for immigrants and natives alike. It is an unnatural open borders scam to reduce wages and employ record numbers of immigrants at wages oriented towards the Third World instead of the standard of living Americans are used to. Ultimately, the taxpayers have to foot the bill for the lower wages championed by Chamber of Commerce-type policies.

The trickle-up road to economic prosperity through endless Third World migration defies common sense, yet it is championed by the supercilious smart-set in policy-making circles. Back in the ‘60s when immigration levels were gradual and stable and weren’t so heavily weighted to the low-skilled and less educated immigrants, enough good paying jobs were created to ensure that most of the foreign born weren’t merely employed, but living above the poverty line. The Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, which began taking effect in the ‘70s, changed all of that. However, as I note in chapter seven of Stolen Sovereignty, the bill’s sponsors sold the legislation to the public as a way of prioritizing skilled workers from Europe.

That’s not exactly what happened:

Obviously, a broader pro-growth agenda built upon free markets instead of cronyism would go a long way in turning around the economy for everyone and could help lift up foreign workers too. There is no need for gratuitous protectionism. But at the same time, numbers, education, skills, and origin do matter in immigration. There is a limit to how much of the Third World we can admit without artificially driving down wages.

As Calvin Coolidge, one of the great free market presidents, said in defense of more stable immigration policies, “we want to keep wages and living conditions good for everyone who is now here or who may come here.” Turning America over to the Third World accomplishes nothing but turning America into the Third World.

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