WASHINGTON, DC (December 12, 2016) — A new analysis by the Center for Immigration Studies of employment data from the third quarter of 2016 shows no meaningful improvement in the labor force participation rate in recent years. The unemployment rate has improved significantly, but it only includes those who have looked for a job in the preceding four weeks. The unemployment rate does not count those who have left the labor market entirely – neither working nor looking for work. Data show that the labor force participation rate (those either working or looking for work) has not returned to pre-recession levels, and those without a college education, the core of Donald Trump's support, being impacted the hardest.
"The election of Donald Trump has surprised many, but his appeal to working-class voters is much easier to understand when your look at the persistently abysmal labor force participation rate of Americans without a college degree," said Steven Camarota the lead author of the report and the Center's Director of Research. "It is hard to argue that we should allow all illegal immigrants to stay in the country or continue to keep legal immigration at extremely high levels on the grounds that there are not enough less-educated workers."
View the entire report at: http://cis.org/Employment-Situation-of-Immigrants-and-Natives-in-the-Third-Quarter-of-2016
Among Native-Born Americans:
- The overall unemployment rate for natives in the third quarter of 2016 was 5.1 percent (6.8 million), a dramatic improvement over the peak in the third quarter of 2010 at 9.5 percent. However, the rate is still above the 4 percent in the same quarter in 2000 (unemployment figures are for those 16 and older).
- There has been a long-term decline in the labor force participation rate of working-age (18 to 65) natives without a bachelor's degree. Only 70.4 percent of natives in this group were in the labor force in the third quarter of this year; in 2007, before the recession, it was 74 percent, and in 2000 it was 75.9 percent.
- The decline in labor force participation among those without a bachelor's degree is even more profound when it is measured relative to those who are more educated.
- In the third quarter of 2016, 70.4 percent of natives without a bachelor's degree were in the labor force, compared to 84.7 percent with a bachelor's degree – a 14.2 percentage-point difference. In the third quarter of 2007, the gap was 11.1 percentage points, and in the third quarter of 2000 the gap was 10.6 percentage points.
- Working-age immigrants without a college education also have not fared well since the recession. Unlike natives, immigrants without a college education did improve their labor force participation between 2000 and 2007. But it has not returned to 2007 levels. Also like natives, there has been no meaningful progress in the last few years.
- In the third quarter of 2016, the labor force participation rate of immigrants (18 to 65) without a bachelor's degree was 71.2 percent, somewhat better than that of natives, but still well below their rate of 75.1 percent in the third quarter of 2007.
Immigrants and Natives Not in the Labor Force:
- In the third quarter of 2016, there were a total of 50.5 million immigrants and natives ages 18 to 65 not in the labor force, up from 43.4 million in 2007 and 37.9 million in 2000.
- Of the 50.5 million currently not in the labor force, 40.1 million (79.5 percent) did not have a bachelor's degree.
- The above figures do not include the unemployed, who are considered to be part of the labor force because, although they are not working, they are looking for work. There were almost eight million unemployed immigrants and natives in the third quarter of this year; almost three-quarters of the unemployed are adults who do not have a bachelor's degree.
Contact: Marguerite Telford