For immigrants, Colo. jobs vanishing
The number of foreign-born workers has fallen by more than for U.S.-born laborers.
By Bruce Finley
The Denver Post, May 1, 2009
As Congress reopened immigration debate Thursday, new data indicated immigrants are bearing the brunt of economic hard times.
Immigrants in Colorado are particularly hard-hit, according to an analysis of government census data by the Center for Immigration Studies.
The number of foreign-born workers employed in Colorado decreased by 20 percent to 252,000 in the first quarter of 2009, from 315,000 in the third quarter of 2007, the analysis found.
By comparison, the number of U.S.-born workers employed in Colorado decreased by 0.8 percent, to 2.28 million from 2.29 million, the analysis found.
Jobless rates similar
Released Thursday, the analysis was based on the Census Bureau's Current Population Survey a primary source of workforce data. Researchers looked at numbers of workers employed as well as joblessness rates, which are based on the percentage of workers seeking employment who can't find it (9.7 percent for immigrants, versus 8.6 percent for U.S.-born workers).
CIS researchers compared the most recent available numbers of workers employed with data from the third quarter of 2007, when the recession began.
Other states where immigrant employment decreased sharply include Georgia (19.6 percent), North Carolina (18.8 percent), Arizona (17.8 percent), Nevada (16.5 percent) and California (12.3 percent).
Nationwide, the number of employed immigrants decreased by about 9 percent, or about 2.1 million workers, since 2007. By contrast, the number of employed U.S.-born workers decreased by about 4 percent, or 4.5 million workers.
'There's now this huge pool of unemployed immigrants seeking work in Colorado and nationally,' said Steve Camarota, director of research for CIS, a think tank in Washington, D.C., that advocates reduced immigration.
'Each year, we let in over 1 million new immigrant workers,' he said. 'The question is: Should we continue to do that?'
Some may have gone home
Previously, U.S.-born workers had unemployment rates as high or higher than immigrants in many parts of the country. Immigration analysts say that low-skilled workers from Mexico and Central America have been especially hard-hit and that some may be returning home, only to find more hard conditions.
This week as senators began exploring the feasibility of immigration reforms, some experts are calling for a mechanism that could fine-tune immigration levels in response to workforce needs.
'More frequent adjustment' of immigration flows 'would mean we could get the workers we need during prosperous times and reduce competition with native workers in less prosperous times,' said Randy Capps, senior analyst at the Migration Policy Institute. 'We also could cut down on the unauthorized workers.'
Mass. immigrants hard-hit by downturn
Study says they are losing jobs faster than native-born
By Maria Sacchetti
The Boston Globe, May 1, 2009
Immigrant workers in Massachusetts have lost their jobs to the economic crisis at a much higher pace than native-born Americans in the state, according to a report released yesterday.
The number of immigrant workers plunged 15 percent from late 2007, when the crisis hit, to the first quarter of this year, while the number of native-born workers declined 3 percent, according to the report by the Center for Immigration Studies in Washington, D.C.
Nationwide, immigrant workers declined 9 percent, compared with nearly 4 percent of native-born Americans. Massachusetts's drop was the seventh highest among the major immigrant-receiving states.
“The number of immigrants working in your state was way down,'' said Steven Camarota, director of research for the center, which favors restrictions on illegal and legal immigration. “That's a very significant decline.''
The report adds new fuel to the intensifying national debate over immigration. Camarota and other opponents of increased immigration say the United States should not pursue a path to legal residency for illegal immigrants or continue special work programs for legal immigrants, because it has enough workers now.
But advocates for immigrants, who are planning a massive march and rally today from East Boston to Everett to promote immigrant and workers' rights, say the vast majority of the immigrant workers in Massachusetts are still here and contributing to the economy.
“Look at Massachusetts, at restaurants, hotels, the buildings. They clean the entire downtown Boston,'' said Marcony Almeida, director of organizing for the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition. “If they don't need them, if they don't need to legalize the undocumented, who is going to do all these jobs?''
Immigrant workers accounted for more than half of the 172,000 jobs lost in Massachusetts since late 2007, though they were only 17 percent of the state's workforce, the center's report found. Immigrants are concentrated in industries that are hard-hit by the economic crisis, such as construction and high-tech, putting them at greater risk of losing their jobs.
Camarota noted that the unemployment rate for immigrants and native-born Americans in Massachusetts remained similar – 8.1 percent for natives and 7.8 percent for immigrants, double the rate two years ago – suggesting that immigrants are leaving the state or the country instead of looking for another job here.
Almeida said a minority of immigrants have left Massachusetts because of stepped up raids, as well as the economic crisis.
Nearly half a million immigrants remain in the state's workforce, and they range widely from laborers to college-educated scientists, according to the report.
Unemployment rising faster for immigrants
By Tony Lee
Metro International (Boston), April 30, 2009
Boston — Unemployment rates for immigrant workers in Massachusetts are rising at a more rapid rate than those for native-born Americans, according to a report released Thursday by the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS).
Since the third quarter of 2007 to the first quarter of 2009, the unemployment rate among immigrants in the Bay State has more than doubled from 3.3 percent to 7.8 percent.
The rate for natives in Massachusetts rose during that time frame from 4.4 percent to 8.1 percent.
Other notable numbers in the report:
+105 percent – the rise in the number of unemployed immigrants in Massachusetts from the third quarter of 2007 to the first quarter of 2009, from 20,000 to 41,000.
+85.7 percent – the rise in the number of unemployed native-born workers during the same time frame, from 126,000 to 234,000.
-15.4 percent – the change in the percentage of employed immigrant workers in Massachusetts during the same time frame, the seventh largest decline in the country.
-3.1 percent – the change in the percentage of employed native-born workers during the same time frame.
9.7 percent – the unemployment rate for immigrants nationwide in the first quarter of 2009, 3.0 percent more than the last quarter of 2008.
8.6 percent – the unemployment rate for native-born workers in the first quarter of 2009, 2.0 percent more than the last quarter of 2008.
Recession Hits Immigrants Harder
By Marilyn Peguero
The NBC17 News, April 30, 2009
Johnston County, NC — A new report from the Center for Immigration Studies says the recession has hit immigrants harder.
Nationally, 9.7 percent of immigrants are unemployed, according to the report titled ''Trends in Immigrant and Native Employment.' That's about one percent higher than the general unemployment rate.
The report says the number of unemployed immigrants increased by 130 percent since 2007. The increase among Americans was 81 percent.
Andrew Behnke, an assistant professor at North Carolina State University who works with programs for immigrants across the state, says he sees the trend locally.
'We're seeing a lot of families being laid off from factories, especially our undocumented families losing their jobs because they are the lowest on the totem pole, the easiest to fire,' he said.
Immigrants are particularly affected because they tend to work in industries hit hard by the recession, including construction, the report says.
Some immigrants are moving to other states or returning to their home counties, Behnke says.
'There's always a flow back and forth. But there have been families that I see out of work that are returning for that reason,' he said.
Others are staying put and surviving with help from friends.
'Here I know a lot of people, they can give me a job easily,' said Jose Gallegos, a Honduran immigrant who is unemployed for the first time since he came to the U.S. 15 years ago. 'If I move somewhere else, I don't know anybody over there and they don't know me either.'
EDITOR'S NOTE: The CIS report, 'Trends in Immigrant and Native Employment,' is available online at: http://cis.org/FirstQuarter2009Unemployment