For the first time in nearly two decades, immigrants do not account for the majority of Hispanic workers in the United States. Meanwhile, most of the job gains made by Hispanics during the economic recovery from the Great Recession of 2007-09 have gone to U.S.-born workers, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of government data.
In 2013, 49.7% of the more than 22 million employed Latinos were immigrants. This share was down sharply from the pre-recession peak of 56.1% in 2007. Although Latinos have gained 2.8 million jobs since the recession ended in 2009, only 453,000 of those went to immigrants. Moreover, all of the increase in employment for Latino immigrants happened in the first two years of the recovery, from 2009 to 2011. Since then, from 2011 to 2013, the employment of Latino immigrants is unchanged.
This development is mostly due to the waning inflow of Hispanic immigrants. The Great Recession, a tepid jobs recovery, tighter border controls and more deportations have served to mitigate migration to the U.S. from Latin America, especially Mexico, in recent years.1 Since the recession started in December 2007, the growth in the Latino immigrant workforce (people ages 16 and older) has slowed dramatically even as the Latino U.S.-born workforce continues to expand at a rapid pace.
The diminished role of Latino immigrants is in stark contrast to trends prior to the Great Recession, and the boom and bust in the U.S. housing market is a key factor. From 2004 to 2007, during the height of the construction boom, immigrant Latinos gained 1.6 million jobs, two times the 829,000 new jobs secured by U.S.-born Latinos.2 During the recession, the construction sector alone let go of 520,000 Latino immigrants, with foreign-born Latinos losing 340,000 jobs overall.3 None of the construction jobs have come back for immigrants. Among foreign-born Latinos, the share working in construction fell from 19% in 2007 to 15% in 2009 and has stayed at about that level.
It is likely that the share of the Latino workforce that is U.S. born will continue to increase. The U.S. born currently account for most of the growth in the Latino population, and it is uncertain that Latino migrants will return to the U.S. workforce in larger numbers. Some leading economists are of the view that the U.S. has entered a new era of slower economic growth.4 If so, jobs growth in the future may not be strong enough to reinvigorate immigration from Latin America. The future direction of U.S. immigration policy is also unknown. Finally, demographers have noted that sharp declines in birth rates in Mexico and other Latin American countries may ease the pressure to emigrate to the U.S. in the longer run.5
Although the inflow of Hispanic immigrants into the U.S. labor market has diminished since the start of the Great Recession, the role of immigrants overall continues to expand. The baton is now in the hands of non-Hispanic migrants, whose inflow—less driven by unauthorized inflows and less dependent on construction sector jobs—is unaffected by the recession. From the fourth quarter of 2009 to the fourth quarter of 2013, the working-age population of Hispanic immigrants increased by only 382,000, while that of non-Hispanic immigrants increased by 2.3 million. The growth was sufficient to increase the share of all immigrants in U.S. employment from 15.8% in 2009 to 16.5% in 2013.
Latinos overall have more than made up for the jobs they lost during the recession in terms of numbers, though not necessarily in the share that are employed. That is because jobs growth for Hispanics is just keeping pace with the growth in their working-age population.
Overall, Hispanics secured 2.8 million new jobs from the fourth quarter of 2009 to the fourth quarter of 2013, well in excess of the 378,000 jobs lost during the recession. The growth in Hispanic employment accounted for 43.4% of the total jobs growth of 6.4 million in the U.S. economy from 2009 to 2013. That was similar to the contribution of Latinos (43.6%) to the growth in the U.S. working-age population over the time period.
To read full article: http://www.pewhispanic.org/2014/06/19/latino-jobs-growth-driven-by-u-s-born/