The Corner


From the LA Times:

“WASHINGTON — Immigrants are filling nearly three out of every 10 new jobs in the rebounding U.S. economy, a development that may dilute the political dividend to President Bush from an election-year recovery, a study to be released today concludes. The report by the nonpartisan Pew Hispanic Center found that workers who were not U.S. citizens claimed 378,496 jobs out of a net increase of 1.3 million from the first three months of 2003 through the first three months of this year.”

Of course, these numbers may mean less than you first think. They seem to contrast the absolute number of non-US citizens taking these jobs against the net total of jobs created rather than against the absolute number of hires in that three month period. Doing the latter would (I imagine) show a far less dramatic percentage, and thus be less of a story. Still, the report is certainly food for thought, as is this:

“But the Pew study suggested that Latinos, in strictly economic terms, may have more to lose from immigration than other workers.”Immigrant Latinos, especially the most recent arrivals, have captured the most jobs,” the report said. “Moreover, the improved employment picture has not delivered higher wages to workers overall and to Latinos in particular.” The median, or midpoint, weekly earnings for Latinos dropped from $402 in the first quarter of 2003 to $395 during the same period this year, after adjusting for inflation. They lost ground when compared with African American and white workers. “The growth in the supply of labor has surely contributed to keeping wages down,” Kochhar said.

Kochar, the labor economist who prepared this study, is surely right about this. Labor is much like most goods. Increase the supply and the price will go down. And this, of course, is one of the many reasons to oppose the bizarre Bush immigration scheme which, by dramatically increasing the supply of legal workers, primarily (I imagine) in already low wage sectors of the economy, might be a good thing for the Wal-Marts of this world, but would be terrible news for blue collar America.

Read the whole thing.


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