New Reports Reveal Immigration Does Not Increase Unemployment

Two new reports prepared for the IPC by the consulting firm Rob Paral & Associates debunk the simplistic myth propagated by anti-immigration activists that immigrants fill U.S. jobs only at the expense of unemployed native-born workers. The reports use data from the Census Bureau to demonstrate that there is no discernible relationship whatsoever between the number of recent immigrants in a particular locale and the unemployment rate among native-born whites, blacks, Latinos, or Asians. This holds true even now, at a time of economic recession and high unemployment.


These reports are the first two installments of a three-part series, Untying the Knot, which seeks to unravel the complex and frequently misrepresented relationship between immigration and unemployment. The first report, “The Unemployment and Immigration Disconnect,” analyzes the relationship (or lack thereof) between recent immigration and the general unemployment rate in different regions, states, and counties. The report finds that areas with high unemployment rates do not necessarily have large numbers of recent immigrants. For instance, recent immigrants are 7.3% of the population in New Jersey and only 0.8% of the population in Maine, yet unemployment rates are nearly identical in both states. On average, counties with lower unemployment rates have larger populations of recent immigrants.


The second report, “Immigration and Native-Born Unemployment Across Racial/Ethnic Groups,” analyzes the relationship between recent immigration and unemployment among native-born whites, blacks, Latinos, and Asians in different states and metropolitan areas. According to the report, the unemployment rate among African Americans is, on average, lower in states and metropolitan areas with the most recent immigrants in the labor force. For example, recent immigrants are 17% of the labor force in Miami and only 3% of the labor force in Cleveland, yet the unemployment rate of native-born blacks in Cleveland is double that of Miami. Rob Paral, Principal of Rob Paral & Associates, points out:

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