The unemployment rate for immigrant workers in the United States is lower than the unemployment rate for native-born workers, according to data from the Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS). 

BLS’s data show that unemployment among foreign born workers in May 2012 was 7.4 percent, while for native-born workers it was 8.0 percent.

The data also show that in 2012, unemployment numbers among foreign born workers has dropped more than those of native born workers. From January to May 2012, the unemployment rate among foreign born workers has decreased by 2 percent, while among native born workers it has only decreased by .7 percent.  

According to BLS, the percentage of immigrants participating in the labor force declined less than one percent. In January 2009, 67.2 percent of immigrants were in the labor force. By May 2012, that had dropped to 66.3 percent. 

The BLS derives its unemployment statistics from what it calls the civilian non-institutional population. This includes all people 16 years or older who are not on active duty in the military, or in a prison, a nursing home or a mental hospital. People are considered in the labor force if they are part of the civilian non-institutional population and they either currently have a job or have actively sought a job in the last four weeks. 

According to BLS, in January 2009, there were 35,007,000 million foreign-born people in the civilian non-institutional population of the United States. By May 2012, that number was 37,504,000, an increase of about 2.5 million. 

Today, there are about 12,625,000 foreign-born people in the civilian non-institutional population who are not in the labor force. Back in January 2009, there were about 11,466,000. That means there are approximately an additional 1.1 million immigrants in the United States today who are not working, or trying to find work, than there were three and a half years ago, when President Obama was inaugurated.

BLS's data shows that the increase in immigration over the past 3 years has contributed to the unemployment numbers in the United States. 

According to, BLS's data on the foreign born population does not distinguish between people who are in the United States legally and people who are here illegally.

Read the full story and BLS's unemployment statistics at

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Updated: Wed, Jul 5th 2017 @ 4:22pm EDT