The number of U.S.-born, working-age Americans who are out of work has risen by 14.3 million since the year 2000, according to a new Center for Immigration Studies analysis of Labor Department data.
“The [official] unemployment rate gives a false picture of what’s going on in the labor market,” CIS director of research Steven Camarota, the author of the analysis, said Friday. “There has been enormous growth in the number of working-age (16-to-65) people, especially native-born Americans, not working,” and thus are not counted in the formal measure of unemployment.
“The key question for our political leaders and candidates is, does it make sense to admit a million new permanent immigrants each year, along with several hundred thousand guestworkers, given the enormous pool of working-age Americans not holding jobs?” Camarota added.
Camarota found that the official unemployment rate for native-born Americans in the last quarter of 2014 was 4.9 percent. That’s higher than the 4.6 percent in the same quarter in 2007, during the tail end of the mortgage-bubble economic boom, and higher than the 3.6 percent in the fourth quarter of 2000, at the tail end of the dot.com boom.
But Camarota’s study shows that 28.2 percent of working-age, age 16-to-65, native-born Americans were not working in the last quarter of 2014.
That percentage adds up to almost 50 million Americans, or 48.8 million.
That’s much higher than the 25.3 percent — or 42.5 million — out of work in the fourth quarter of 2007.
It is also higher than the 23.2 percent — or 36.3 million — out of work in the last quarter of 2000.
Camarota also added the number of people looking for work — who are officially described as “unemployed” — to the number of non-working, native-born Americans.
He found “55.2 million working-age, native-born Americans without jobs in the fourth quarter of 2015, compared to 40.8 million in same quarter of 2000.” In other words, with rounding, 14.3 million fewer native-born, working-age Americans were working than in the year 2000.
When combined with the number of not-working immigrants, the total number of both natives and immigrants unemployed or not in the labor force reached 71.8 million in the fourth quarter of 2015.
In January, 25.3 million immigrants and 123.7 native-born Americans were employed in the U.S., creating a workforce where one-in-six workers were born overseas.
Since January 2009, foreign-born people in the United States have gained 4 million jobs and native-born Americans gained only 4.6 million jobs. The working-age foreign-born population has increased by 6 million since January 2009, while the working-age native-born population has increased by 11.6 million people.