For Every New Job, Two New Immigrants

Article subtitle: 
Since 2000: 9.3 million new jobs, 18 million new immigrants
Article publisher: 
Center for Immigration Studies
Article date: 
11 February 2015
Article category: 
Our American Future
Article Body: 

The Center for Immigration Studies reports that government data collected in December 2014 show 18 million immigrants (legal and illegal) living in the United States who arrived in January 2000 or later. But only 9.3 million jobs were added over this time period. Yet Congress is actually considering proposals to increase legal immigration even further. Policymakers continue to falsely claim a labor shortage and to disregard the long-term absorption capacity of the U.S. labor market, which has profound implications for American workers.

“It is a mistake to think every job taken by an immigrant is a job lost by a native, but it is equally wrong to think that adding this huge number of immigrants has no implications for American workers,” said Steven Camarota, co-author of the report and the Center’s Director of Research. “If immigration is the great job creator for natives that advocates argue," he added, "the record number of new arrivals in the last 14 years should have created a jobs bonanza for natives. Instead, job growth did not come close to matching new immigration and natural population increase; and the labor force participation of natives shows a long-term decline, even before the Great Recession.”

View the complete report.

  • In December 2014 there were 18 million immigrants (legal and illegal) living in the country who had arrived since January 2000; 89 percent were potential workers 16 and older.

Legal immigrants account for between two-thirds and three-fourths of the new arrivals.

Over this same time period the number of jobs in the U.S. increased by just 9.3 million.

In addition to the 18 million new immigrants, the native-born adult population 16 and older grew by 25.2 million since 2000.

Long-term job growth has not come close to matching new immigration and natural population increase; as a result, the labor force participation rate (the share working or looking for work) of native-born Americans aged 16 to 65 shows significant long-term decline.

The share of native-born Americans 16 to 65 in the labor force was 77 percent in December 2000, 75 percent in December 2007, and 72 percent in December 2014.

The number of 16- to 65-year-old natives not in the labor force (neither working nor looking for work) increased by 13 million from December 2000 to December 2014.

If we look at the period after the Great Recession began, 7.8 million new immigrants arrived from 2008 to 2014, yet net job growth was just two million.

If we look at the period before the Great Recession, from January 2000 to December 2007, 11.1 million immigrants arrived and job growth was still only 7.3 million.