A study from the Center for Immigration Studies suggest that in the United States there is a correlation between unemployment among natives and the influx of immigrants. This data shows that immigrants get the upper hand in employment over natives. Since 2009, two-thirds of the net increase in employment has gone to immigrant workers, mostly legal immigrants.
- Since President Obama took office, 67% of employment growth has gone to immigrants (legal and illegal).
- There were 1.94 million more immigrants (legal and illegal) working in the third quarter of 2012 than at the start of 2009. This comares to a 938,000 increase for natives over the same time period.
- Most of the immigrant growth in employment was the result of new immigration, from 2009 on.
- Immigrants made employment gains across the labor market. In occupations where immigrant gains were the largest, there were 2.2 million unemployed natives.
While immigrants seem to benefit from employment gains, the data paints a dismal picture for adult natives (18 and over).
U-6 unemployment rates by educational attainment for the second quarter of 2015 (U-6 rate include individuals who want a full-time job but are unemployed, have given up their job search, or have settled for part-time employment in the interim):
- 10.5% ages 16+ (16.8 million)
- 28.4% teens (624,000)
- 19.2% for those with less than a high school education (2.7 million)
- 13.5% for those with a high school degree (5.8 million)
- 5.5% for all college graduates (3 million) and 8.4% for college graduates under age 30 (620,000).
- 17.8% ages 16+ (2.9 million)
- 40% teens (96,000)
- 35.2% for those with less than a high school education (431,000)
- 22.2% for those with a high school degree (1.2 million)
- 8.5% for all college graduates (316,000) and 13.3% for college graduates under age 30 (67,000).
- 14.6% ages 16+ (2 million)
- 39.5% teens (113,000)
- 23.7% for those with less than a high school education (370,000)
- 17.3% for those with a high school degree (752,000)
- 7.2% for all college graduates (196,000) and 11.7% for college graduates under age 30 (70,000).
For more information about native and immigrant employment growth since 2009, read the Center for Immigration Studies "Who Got Jobs During the Obama Presidency?"
New foreign workers compete with the laid-off and underemployed highly skilled Americans in most professions and occupations, but most foreign workers compete directly in the construction, service and manufacturing industries where unemployment is the highest and where Americans have the least margin of financial security.
U.S. immigration policy does not automatically adjust to changing economic conditions, and is not a function of U.S. labor market conditions.