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American Worker Displacement | Guest Column
The Bureau of Labor Statistics April jobs report is the latest evidence that, White House spin aside, the U.S. employment picture across all demographic spectrums is grim and getting grimmer. Last month, the economy produced a meager 115,000 jobs. And while some may believe the Obama administration’s fantasy that unemployment dropped from 8.2 to 8.1 percent, the facts tell a different story. Through March 2012, there were 142 million employed, 12.7 million unemployed, 7.7 million marginally attached to the work force and 87.9 million who have given up the search and are categorized as “not in the labor force”. A comparison to mid-2007 tells the whole tale. Five years ago, 146.1 million people worked, 7.1 million were unemployed and 4.5 million held part-time positions for what they described as “economic reasons.” A total of 78.7 million people were not in the labor force; the unemployment rate was 4.6 percent. Unemployment rates are high among every class of worker regardless of educational background. A Rutgers University study found that only 53 percent of college graduates who earned their degrees from 2006-2010 have full time jobs; their salaries have declined by 10 percent during that period. Teenagers and older Americans have been hammered. Adults in all age groups, teenagers, blacks, Hispanics, whites and society’s most vulnerable, those without a high school diploma, can’t find work. If you wonder how hard the job search is, the AARP reported that unemployment among older workers increased 331 percent during the decade from 2000 to 2010.Only foreign-born workers have survived the devastation. Those who don’t study immigration statistics may be shocked to learn that the BLS reported that in 2010, 22 million foreign-born held jobs. From June 2009 through June 2010, foreign-born workers gained 656,000 jobs while native-born lost 1.2 million. Couple that with the 8 million illegal aliens who hold non-farm jobs and it’s clear that one of the major reasons for America’s employment crisis is its unquestioned open-door immigration policy.The solution end the practice of issuing more than 1 million annual temporary and permanent work visas to immigrants is a Capitol Hill non-starter. More immigration is the federal government’s sacred cow. Not only do incumbent president Obama and his Republican challenger Mitt Romney campaign on the presumed importance of more foreign-born workers, Congress is in lock step. In recent months, about 15 Congressional bills aimed at increasing the numbers of overseas workers have been introduced. Yet no American worker shortage for these jobs exists at any level.Cutting immigration quotas would be virtually free. So would passing the Legal Workforce Act that mandates employers to use E-Verify, the online program that confirms whether a new hire is authorized to work in the United States.Two other immigration foibles should also be suspended immediately: the visa lottery that hands out 55,000 green cards worldwide to workers regardless of their skills or education and chain migration that allows immigrants to petition for this status for their adult siblings and adult children.Commenting on the economic conditions that have unfolded since the recession began, former Treasury Secretary Reich said in a rare candid moment that the “hole keeps deepening every month we fail to add at least 150,000 new jobs, again reflecting population growth....Bottom line: This is no jobs recovery.”As long as Congress ignores the relationship between immigration and jobs, the nation’s sense of despair will deepen. Toughening up on immigration would be bad for ethnic identity politicians and certain well-entrenched Beltway lobbyists. But, for American workers, it’s the quickest, most certain road to recovery.
- Joe Guzzardi is a Californians for Population Stabilization Senior Writing Fellow. This column distributed by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate. Contact Joe at firstname.lastname@example.org. This column has been edited by the author. Representations of fact and opinions are solely those of the author.