November 2, 2010

Employment: Foreign Born vs. Native Born

-.06 vs. +0.5

In the year following the official end of the recent recession, the unemployment rate for immigrant workers fell 0.6 percentage points, while for native-born workers it rose 0.5 percentage points.

A Pew Hispanic Center analysis of U.S. Census Bureau and Department of Labor data finds that in the wake of the official end to the recent recession immigrants are gaining jobs while other U.S. workers continue to sustain losses. In the year following June 2009 — when the recession was officially declared over — foreign-born workers gained 656,000 jobs while native-born workers lost 1.2 million. As a result, the unemployment rate for immigrant workers fell 0.6 percentage points during this period (from 9.3% to 8.7%), while for native-born workers it rose 0.5 percentage points (from 9.2% to 9.7%). Possible explanations for the job gains among foreign-born workers include immigrants being more accepting of lower wages as well as greater flexibility and mobility among the foreign born. Immigrants’ employment success at the start of the recovery also might simply be that their employment patterns are more volatile over the business cycle. Read More