There Is No ‘Labor Shortage’

18 April 2019
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A new report from the Center for Immigration Studies finds no empirical evidence of a "labor shortage" whereby employers need immigration  to fill jobs because they are unable to find American workers. 
Jason Richwine, an independent policy analyst and the author of the report, said, "When employers tell us that they cannot find workers, what they really mean is that they cannot find workers willing to work for the low wage they'd like to pay. The percentage of working-age Americans not in the labor force remains significantly below the level from the year 2000, and employers should try to bring those Americans back first before they look to immigration."
Key findings in the report:
  • Shortages should not occur in a free market 
  • Tight labor markets benefit marginalized groups 
  • Wages have been stagnant over the long term 
  • Labor force participation is down over the long term 
  • Domestic industries should hire Americans 
  • Natives participate in all major occupations 
  • Plenty of STEM workers are available 
  • Gains to the economy are not the same as gains to natives 
  • Immigration is not an efficient solution to population aging 
Immigration is fundamentally about trade-offs. Unfortunately, advocates have seized on the idea of a "labor shortage" in order to deny those trade-offs, arguing instead that immigration is necessary to fill jobs that cannot be filled by natives. Neither economic theory nor empirical evidence supports the notion of a "labor shortage". It's time to retire this talking point.
Read the full report: There Is No ‘Labor Shortage’, by Jason Richwine, Center for Immigration Studies, April 16, 2019.