The economic effect of immigration doesn’t seem like it will be easily pinned down. Statistics show that it has both positive and negative outcomes. On one hand, large waves of immigrants coming into the states takes away jobs from less skilled native workers. This results in a higher unemployment rate, and lower income. But this is assuming that the workers coming in are all unskilled workers crossing the southern border illegally. However, that isn’t the case. One of the points the article makes is that “recent data shows China and India have taken the lead, and many of those immigrants are higher on the skill scale” (Sparshott). This also brings to mind the question of whether or not the lower employment rates and wages have anything to do with immigration. It could just be the fact that native workers are not creating a profitable amount of human capital in order for them to retain their jobs.
Firstly, the employment rate as of now supports the positive effect of immigration. From January 2015 to October 2015, the employment rate went down by .7% (Bureau of Labor Statistics). These numbers correlate to the increase of immigration during those months, as well as the ongoing issue of illegal immigration. One can argue that since employers are able to pay these illegal workers lower than the minimum wage, they gain more profits because they do not have to calculate out as high an employee wage as they would have if these workers had been legal. Since the illegal workers are willing to work for lower than the minimum wage, the business profits more, which boosts the economy in the region. Some could say illegal immigration, although it takes jobs from legal citizens, can benefit the economy in ways we never could expect. This influx of workers into the economy of an area can boost it, which will in turn boost the national economy.
This allows for new jobs to form based on the healthy economy, and as the market slowly makes its way back towards equilibrium, those jobs will have steady wages. These new job opportunities hinge on the successful endeavors of experimental markets, and although the chance of failure is high, immigration can help it come to success. The workers coming in from China and India are higher skilled than those coming from Mexico and Central America. This means that they would receive higher paying jobs, and although they would push native born Americans out of the markets, they would still have a positive effect on the economy. This isn’t to say that there are no negative effects of immigration- that isn’t true. The negative effects of immigration, although not quite what the Republican Party might think, are still there.
Immigration washes the markets with a flood of new workers searching for jobs, and as the economy is still recovering from the recession of 2008, there remains some instability in the field as it is. Many natives are still searching for jobs after the excess of lay-offs from the recession left them living on unemployment. In October of 2009, the unemployment rate was the highest it has been in a while, peaking at 10% (Bureau of Labor Statistics). This shows that the unemployment rate and amount of income has more to do with the workers’ human capital, the economic climate at the time, and the still lingering effects of the recent recession, rather than immigration itself.
- Of Labor Statistics, B. (n.d.). Databases, Tables & Calculators by Subject. Retrieved November 23, 2015, from http://data.bls.gov/timeseries/LNS14000000
- Sparshott, J. (2015, June 1). Does Immigration Suppress Wages? It’s Not So Simple. Retrieved November 23, 2015, from http://blogs.wsj.com/economics/2015/06/01/does-immigration-suppress-wages-its-not-so-simple/