New anaylsis from the Center for Immigration Studies has determined that 57.5 million native-born Americans between the ages of 16 and 65 were not working during the second quarter of 2013. That figure is up 17 million from the second quarter of 2000. Proponents of the Schumer-Obama amnesty bill (S.744), however, claim that there are not enough workers currently living in the United States.
Among the study's findings:
- The total number of native-born Americans of working-age not working has barely budged in the last three years. The more than 57 million natives not working is 10 million larger than in the second quarter of 2007 and 17 million larger than in the same quarter of 2000.
- Even excluding younger teens aged 16 and 17, the total number of adult natives (18 to 65) not working in the second quarter of this year was 50.6 million.
- The number of adult natives not working is spread throughout the labor market, including 25 million with no more than a high school education, 16 million with some education beyond high school, and nine million with at least a bachelor's degree.
- The increase in the share and number of working-age natives not working is a long-term trend and began well before the current economic downturn.
- Turning to the broad measure of unemployment, referred to as U-6 unemployment, also shows an enormous supply of potential workers. The U-6 measure includes those forced to work part-time and those who want to work, but have not looked recently.
- U-6 unemployment stood at 13.7 percent for natives in the second quarter of 2013 compared to 8 percent in the second quarter of 2007 and 6.8 percent in the second quarter of 2000.
- The number of native-born Americans who are U-6 unemployed in the second quarter of this year was 18.2 million. Adding U-6 unemployed immigrants raises the total to nearly 22 million.
- Supporters of the large increases in legal immigration in S.744 argued that the aging of American society means there are not enough workers to support government or the economy. This argument ignores the enormous increase in the number of working-age Americans not working.
- Drawing the existing population of natives and legal immigrants currently not employed into jobs would have a far more positive impact on improving the ratio of workers to non-workers.
- Immigrants arrive at all ages and many do not work. Therefore it is not surprising that immigration adds to both the working population and those who are non-working. Of the more than five million immigrants who arrived in the country in the last five years only 48 percent had a job in 2013. For recent immigrants who are working age (16 to 65), 59 percent held a job.
- In contrast, moving the existing population of natives and legal immigrants not working into jobs would directly and immediately improve the ratio of workers to non-workers.
The Schumer-Obama amnesty bill would grant more than 33 million new work permits in the first decade by granting amnesty to 11 million illegal aliens, clearing the current backlog, and expanding existing legal immigration categories. The bill also calls for a new low-skilled, guest worker program that would grant 200,000 3-year temporary visas each year.
For more information on this study, see the Center for Immigration Studies.