Low-skilled Immigrants are Replacing Low-skilled Native-born Workers

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By Center for Immigration Studies, Special for USDR

A new report from the Center for Immigration Studies demonstrates that low-skilled immigrants are replacing low-skilled native-born workers in the job market.

The new study of actual hours worked per year (rather than simply participation in the labor market) does not answer the question of whether immigrants push natives out of the workforce. But it does demonstrate that as natives leave the workforce — whether because of competition from immigrants, insufficient wages, overreliance on welfare, distaste for manual labor, or some other reason — employers turn increasingly to immigrants.

The Census Bureau’s American Time Use Survey shows that labor-force dropout by men in their prime working years – ages 25 to 54 – has been especially severe among natives without a high school degree. “Native-born high school dropouts worked the equivalent of only 35 full-time weeks per year during the 2003-2015 period, while immigrant dropouts worked 49 equivalent weeks. Native-born dropouts saw their work time decline from 41 weeks in 2003-2005 to 32 weeks in 2012-2015,” writes Jason Richwine, author of the study and an independent public policy analyst.

Mark Krikorian, executive director of the Center, said, “Low-skill American men have been dropping out of the labor force at the same time that low-skill immigrants are finding plenty of work. Whatever its other effects, mass immigration serves to paper over this serious social problem, reducing the incentive for employers and policymakers to explore and address its underlying causes.

View the entire study at:  http://cis.org/Immigrants-Replace-Low-Skill-Natives-in-the-Workforce

Some of the findings of the study include:

  • Among natives without a high school degree, the fraction who were neither working nor looking for work rose from 26 percent in 1994 to 35 percent in 2015. Over the same period, the fraction of their immigrant counterparts who were out of the labor force actually declined from 12 percent to 8 percent.
  • Turning to hours spent working, native-born high school dropouts worked an average of 1,391 hours (the equivalent of about 35 full-time weeks) per year between 2003 and 2015, while immigrant dropouts worked 1,955 hours (or 49 full-time weeks) per year.
  • Native-born dropouts have seen their work time decline from 41 equivalent full-time weeks in the 2003- 2005 period to 32 weeks in 2012-2015, while immigrant dropouts declined only from 52 weeks to 50 weeks.
  • While natives fell from 56 percent of the nation’s high school dropouts to 52 percent, their share of the labor performed by all dropouts declined much faster — from 50 percent in the 2003-2005 period to 40 percent in 2012-2015.
  • Among men with more than a high school degree, there are no significant differences in work time between immigrants and natives.

SOURCE Center for Immigration Studies

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