Report

Growth in the Foreign-Born Workforce and Employment of the Native Born

  • August 10, 2006

Rapid increases in the foreign-born population at the state level are not associated with negative effects on the employment of native-born workers, according to a study by the Pew Hispanic Center that examined data from both the boom years of the 1990s and the period of recession and gradual recovery after 2000. An analysis of the relationship between growth in the foreign-born population and employment outcomes of native-born workers revealed wide variations and no consistent pattern across the 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Nearly 25 percent of native-born workers lived in states where rapid growth in the foreign-born population between 1990 and 2000 was associated with favorable outcomes for the native born in 2000. Only 15 percent of native-born workers resided in states where rapid growth in the foreign-born population was associated with negative outcomes for the native born. The remaining 60 percent of native-born workers lived in states where the growth in the foreign-born population was below average, but those native workers did not consistently experience favorable employment outcomes. Similar results emerged from the analysis for the 2000 to 2004 time period. The size of the foreign-born workforce is also unrelated to the employment prospects for native workers. The relative youth and low levels of education among foreign workers appear to have no bearing on the employment outcomes of native workers of similar schooling and age.