Feds: 12M Americans Remain Sidelined, Out of the Workforce

Unemployed Americans
Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images

More than 12 million Americans have remain sidelined from the U.S. workforce despite their wanting full-time employment, federal data suggests.

Last month, there were more than 12 million Americans who were either unemployed, forced to work part-time jobs, out of the workforce but wanted jobs, or who were unemployed because they were discouraged by their job prospects.

Overall, about 6.2 million Americans were unemployed, about 13 percent of whom were teenagers and 6.7 percent of whom were black Americans. The unemployment rate for black Americans is more than double the unemployment rate of Asian Americans.

Additionally, about 4.5 million Americans are working part-time jobs despite wanting full-time jobs. These are mostly poor, working and lower-middle class Americans who say the job market has kept them in part-time work though they prefer being a full-time employee.

There are also about 1.4 million Americans who are entirely out of the workforce and thus not counted in the unemployment rate. These are working-age residents who have looked for a job over the last 12 months. Among those out of the workforce are 412,000 Americans who are discouraged by the job market and say they do not believe there are any jobs for them in the current economy.

While millions remain on the sidelines of the workforce, Democrats, some Republicans, and the big business lobby have suggested the U.S. bring more foreign workers to take blue collar and many white collar American jobs. Already, about 1.5 million illegal and legal immigrants are admitted to the country every year, at the detriment of U.S. wages.

Every one percent increase in the immigrant composition of American workers’ occupations reduces their weekly wages by about 0.5 percent, researcher Steven Camarotta has found. This means the average native-born American worker today has his weekly wages reduced by perhaps 8.5 percent because of current legal immigration levels.

In a state like Florida, where immigrants make up about 25.4 percent of the labor force, American workers have their weekly wages reduced by about 12.5 percent. In California, where immigrants make up 34 percent of the labor force, American workers’ weekly wages are reduced by potentially 17 percent.

Likewise, every one percent increase in the immigrant composition of low-skilled U.S. occupations reduces wages by about 0.8 percent. Should 15 percent of low-skilled jobs be held by foreign-born workers, it would reduce the wages of native-born American workers by perhaps 12 percent.

Senators Tom Cotton (R-AR), David Perdue (R-GA), and Josh Hawley (R-MO), on the other hand, have reintroduced the RAISE Act which would reduce legal immigration levels to about 500,000 admissions a year and end the process known as “chain migration,” where newly naturalized citizens are able to bring an unlimited number of foreign relatives to the U.S.

The plan would immediately tighten the labor market, advocates say, and thus boost wages and open job opportunities for America’s working and middle class that have struggled to re-enter the workforce.

The Washington, DC-imposed mass legal immigration policy is a boon to corporate executives, Wall Street, big business, and multinational conglomerates, as America’s working and middle class have their wealth redistributed to the country’s top earners through wage stagnation and increased public costs.

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


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