Unemployment Rates, Flat Wages Challenge Need for H-2B Visa, Experts Say


As Congress is pushed by the big business lobby and open borders organizations to expand the number of low-skilled, non-farm workers entering the U.S. every year, the national unemployment rate coupled with stagnant wages indicate the harm done by the H-2B visa to American workers, according to experts.

A group of employer and open borders interests known as the ‘H-2B Workforce Coalition’ is lobbying members of Congress to expand the H-2B visa program, which would potentially allow 264,000 foreign workers in the U.S. for the next fiscal year, Breitbart Texas reported.

“Missing workers,” as the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) calls them, are discouraged American workers who are either unemployed or no longer looking for work because they see a weak job market, whether that be low wages, bad working conditions, or other reasons.

Currently, there are 1.37 million “missing workers” in the American labor force between the ages of 45 and 74-years-old. These workers are not included in the monthly unemployment rate, but if they were, the unemployment rate would be 5.3 percent, according to EPI.

Young Americans, who easily qualify for low-skilled jobs, continue to have a high unemployment rate, according the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

For Americans between the ages of 16 to 19-years-old, the unemployment is 13.7 percent, which is considerably higher than the national unemployment rate. Likewise, the unemployment rate for Americans between the ages of 20 and 24-years-old is 7.3 percent.

Center for Immigration Studies Director Mark Krikorian told Breitbart Texas that claims of a “labor shortage” are untrue.

“They don’t say there’s ‘a labor shortage’, they say there’s a ‘looming labor shortage’ and that ‘its coming’,” Krikorian said in an interview.

“Employers say ‘look, I advertised for this job and no one showed up’,” Krikorian said. “So what? It’s not Congress’ job to supply your workforce. These employers don’t want to have to do any work in finding employees.”

Despite constant media coverage and claims of a labor shortage in the U.S. by business interests and the open borders lobby, the EPI has found no evidence of such a shortage:

Groups like the Essential Worker Immigration Coalition—a lobbying group representing the interests of employers—claims that it is “concerned with the shortage of both semiskilled and unskilled (‘essential worker’) labor” and thus “supports policies that facilitate the employment of essential workers by U.S. companies that are unable to find American workers.”9 Representatives of other influential corporate lobbying groups, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Immigration Works USA, have made similar claims. As a result, these groups lobby Congress to expand the number of H-2B workers, and to create new similar temporary foreign worker programs to fill low-wage jobs.

Despite such claims from industry groups—other than employer anecdotes—no credible data or labor market metrics have been presented by non-employer-affiliated groups or organizations—let alone by disinterested academics—proving the existence of labor shortages in H-2B occupations that could justify a large expansion of the H-2B program.

Not only do unemployment numbers run counter to claims that more foreign workers through the H-2B visa are needed to fill jobs, but wage numbers also depict the low-skilled job market as having almost no growth because of too much immigration, say experts.

Wages in the top 15 H-2B jobs in the U.S. have been stagnant or slightly decreased over the last decade, according to analysis by EPI.

For instance, for landscaping and grounds-keeping jobs given to H-2B foreign workers, wages decreased by 3.4 percent between 2004 and 2014. For jobs in the amusement and recreation industry, which also employs a multitude of H-2B foreign workers, wages between 2004 and 2014 fell by 1.3 percent.

Overall, in the top 15 industries that employ H-2B foreign workers, wages increased in the last decade by 1.8 percent.

Stagnant and decreased wages in H-2B job fields prove, according to NumbersUSA’s Rosemary Jenks, the uselessness of the foreign worker visa.

“If there was a labor shortage, wages would have increased,” Jenks told Breitbart Texas.

Jenks said businesses demanding the expansion of the H-2B visa do not explain how they have survived since Oct. 1, 2016 when the expansion ended.

“If there are no workers to be found, how did they survive before the expansion?” Jenks posed. “The fact is, if they don’t have foreign workers, they find American workers to do the job.”

The H-2B visa brings foreign nationals to the U.S. for low-skilled non-agricultural jobs. More than half a million jobs in the U.S. have been taken by H-2B visa workers in the last five years, according to analysts.

John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart Texas. Follow him on Twitter at @JxhnBinder.


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