Over the past two years, as US unemployment remained near double-digit levels and the economy shed jobs in the wake of the crisis, over a million foreign-born arrivals to America found work, many illegally.
Those are among the findings of a review of US Bureau of Labor Statistics and Census Bureau data conducted for Reuters by researchers at the Centre for Labor Market Studies at a Boston university.
Many of the new arrivals, according to employers, brought with them skills required of the building trade and found work in sectors such as construction, where jobless rates are high.
“Employers have chosen to use new immigrants over native-born workers and have continued to displace large numbers of blue-collar workers and young adults without college degrees,” said Andrew Sum, director, Centre for Labor Market Studies.
From 2008 to 2010, 1.1 million new migrants who have entered America since 2008 landed jobs, even as US household employment declined by 6.3 million over that same period. But in a sign of the times, the pace of job growth for new arrivals has also slowed, to an average of 550,000 a year from 2008 to 2010 from over 750,000 a year from 2000 to 2008.
Many immigrants acquired jobs in traditional low-wage work associated with foreign, undocumented and especially Mexican labor: hotels and food services, retail trade, sanitation, cleaning and construction.