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Employment situation of Immigrants and Natives - Truthhurts

Posted: Jul 19th, 2021 - 2:45 pm

Washington, D.C. (July 19, 2021) – An analysis by the Center for Immigration Studies of Bureau of Labor Statistics data for May 2021 shows that while the official unemployment rate (share actively looking for work) of both the native-born and immigrants has fallen significantly, it remains higher than before Covid. Moreover, the labor force participation rate — the share of working-age (16-64) people with a job or looking for one — remains lower than in May 2019. Both immigrants and natives without a college degree have fared much worse in terms of unemployment and labor force participation.

Dr. Steven Camarota, the Center’s director of research and a co-author of the analysis, said, “With 64 million natives and immigrants unemployed or out of the labor force, there is clearly a large pool of potential labor available for employers to fill vacant positions. This is especially true for people at the bottom of the labor market – both immigrants and natives – who have fared much worse in terms of unemployment and labor force participation.”

Among the findings:
  • The unemployment rate for native-born Americans (ages 16-plus) was 5.5 percent in May, well above the 3.4 percent in May 2019 before Covid-19. Among immigrants (legal and illegal together), the rate was 5.6 percent, higher than the 2.8 percent in May 2019. (Table 1C)
  • The number unemployed in May stood at 7.3 million for natives and 1.5 million for immigrants, both still much higher than in May 2019, though much lower than at the peak last spring. (Table 1B)
  • In addition to the unemployed, 45.8 million working-age (16-64) native-born Americans and 9.4 million immigrants were out of the labor force in May — neither working nor looking for work. (Table 3B)
  • Combined, 64 million natives and immigrants were not working in May 2021 — unemployed or out of the labor force — 4.3 million more than in May 2019. (Tables 1B and 3B)
  • Excluding young people under age 25, there were still 45.1 million immigrants and natives not working in May. (Table 2B)
  • The huge number of working-age people not working is a clear indication that there is a large pool of potential labor for employers to draw upon to fill vacant positions.
  • We estimate that the unemployment rate for illegal immigrants (sometimes referred to as "illegal aliens" or the "undocumented") was 4.8 percent, and that it was 5.9 percent for legal immigrants in May. However, our estimates by legal status are approximations only. (Table 5C)
Among the less-educated:
  • The unemployment rate for native-born Americans (ages 25-plus) without a bachelor's degree was 6.2 percent in May, compared to 2.7 percent for those with at least a bachelor's degree. Among immigrants (ages 25-plus), 6.4 percent without a bachelor's degree were unemployed, compared to 4 percent with at least a bachelor's. (Table 1C)
  • Those without a college degree comprise less than two-thirds of the population 25 to 64, but account for three-fourths of those not working — unemployed or not in the labor force. (Table 2A and 2B)
  • The Covid-19 shutdown has exacerbated the long-term decline in the labor force participation rate (share working or looking for work) of the less-educated. In May 2021, only 67 percent of working-age (16-64) natives without a bachelor's degree were in the labor force, down from 68 percent in May 2019 (before Covid), 71 percent in May 2007, and 74 percent in May 2000. (Figure 2)
  • Focusing on only men who are of prime working age (25 to 54) still shows a long-term decline in labor force participation. The share of native-born men ages 25 to 54 without a bachelor's degree in the labor force was 83 percent in May 2021, compared to 84 percent in May 2019, 88 percent in May 2007, and 89 percent in May 2000. (Figure 3)
  • The unemployment rate (immigrant and native) in many jobs typically performed by the less-educated has improved significantly since last spring, but remains relatively high.
 




LINK/URL: Employment situation of Immigrants and Natives

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