Immigrants main beneficiaries of net increase in US jobs – Report

Two-thirds of the net increase in employment since President Barack Obama took office has gone to immigrant workers, primarily legal immigrants, a new analysis of government data by the Center for Immigration Studies shows.

Although total immigration has fallen in recent years, legal immigration remains very high. While economists debate the extent to which immigrants displace natives, the new data makes clear that a general labor shortage does not exist.

Steve Camarota, the Center's Director of Research, points out: "It is extraordinary that most of the employment growth in the last four years has gone to foreign-born workers. But what is even more extraordinary is that the issue has not even come up during the presidential election."

The analysis shows that 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 3rd quarter of 2012 than at the start of 2009, when the president took office. This compares to a 938,000 increase for the native-born over the same time period.

Most of the growth in immigrant employment went to newly arrived immigrants, rather than immigrants already in the country. Some 1.6 million new immigrant workers have arrived from abroad since the start of 2009. It is estimated that 70 to 90 percent entered legally.

Analysis also shows that immigrants made employment gains across the labor market. In occupations where immigrant gains were the largest, there were 2.2 million unemployed natives.

A large share of employment growth was already going to immigrants well before the president took office. However, he has taken steps to increase the level of job competition from foreign-born workers.

President Obama offered work authorization to an estimated 2 million illegal immigrants who arrived in the country before age 16 – nearly 200,000 of whom have applied so far.

The complete study can be found at:

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