WASHINGTON, October 29, 2010 (AFP) – Immigrant workers have gained more than half a million jobs in the United States since the end of the Great Recession last year, while U.S.-born workers continued to lose jobs in the same period, a study released Friday shows.
Immigrants of all races and ethnicities gained 656,000 jobs in the 12 months from June last year, when data showed that the worst recession since the Great Depression in the 1930s had ended, the study by the Pew Hispanic Center shows.
U.S.-born workers, on the other hand, lost 1.2 million jobs in the same period, the study shows.
The unemployment rate for immigrant workers fell in the first year of the recovery from 9.3 percent to 8.7 percent, while for native-born workers, it rose from just over nine percent to nearly 10 percent, the study shows.
But even though the jobs situation looked better for immigrants than the native-born, foreign-born workers have a long way to go before they have fully recovered from the effects of the recession.
“The 650,000 jobs immigrants gained in the first year of the recovery are not nearly sufficient to make up for the 1.1 million jobs they lost” in the recession, the report says.
The unemployment rate for immigrant workers is still more than double what it was before the recession, when only four percent of foreign-born workers were out of a job.
And “even as immigrants have managed to gain jobs in the recovery, they have experienced a sharp decline in earnings,” said Pew, which analyzed Census Bureau and Department of Labor data for the report.
The median weekly earnings of foreign-born workers have fallen by 4.5 percent since last year, with Latino immigrants seeing the largest wage drop of all, at 5.8 percent.
Native-born workersâ€™ wages fell by less than one percent.
“It might be that in the search for jobs in the recovery, immigrants were more accepting of lower wages and reduced hours because many, especially unauthorized immigrants, are not eligible for unemployment benefits,” the report says.
Foreign-born workers are also thought to be more flexible and willing to change professions and move house for a job than their native-born counterparts, the report says.
Even among ethnic groups, there were stark differences between the numbers of native- and foreign-born workers who found jobs between June last year and the same month this year.
All of the 392,000 jobs gained by the U.S. Hispanic population went to immigrants, the report says.
The unemployment rate for foreign-born Hispanics fell from 11 percent in the second quarter of 2009 to 10.1 percent in the same period this year. Among US-born Latinos, it went up during the same period, from 12.9 percent to 14 percent.
The same dividing line between job gains and losses among native- and foreign-born was also seen in the non-Hispanic white population and among black Americans.
Non-Hispanic whites lost 986,000 jobs from the second quarter of 2009 to the same period this year, and all of the losses affected native-born whites, whose unemployment rate rose from 7.7 percent to eight percent.
Immigrant whites, on the other hand, gained 214,000 jobs, pushing their unemployment rate down from seven percent to 6.3 percent.
Employment for U.S.-born blacks fell by 142,000 in the first year of the recovery, pushing their unemployment rate up from 15.4 percent to more than 16 percent.
Unemployment fell from 11.4 percent to 10.7 percent among foreign-born blacks, meanwhile, as they gained 81,000 jobs.
The only group in which native-born workers outperformed immigrants in the jobs market was Asian-Americans.
U.S.-born Asians gained 208,000 jobs in the 12 months since June 2009, while Asian immigrants lost 102,000 jobs in the same period. â–