Immigrants top native born in U.S. job hunt

migrant_workers.gi.top.jpgImmigrants, such as these farm laborers from Mexico working in Colorado, have gained jobs since the recession was declared ended last year. By Aaron Smith, staff writer


NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Immigrants have gained hundreds of thousands of jobs since the Great Recession is said to have ended, while U.S.-born workers lost more than a million jobs, according to a study released Friday.

Native-born workers lost 1.2 million jobs in the year following June 2009, when economists say the recession officially ended, reported the Pew Hispanic Center, a division of the Pew Research Center.

In that same period of time, foreign-born workers gained 656,000 jobs, according to the center, which based its analysis on statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Labor.

The study did not specify whether or not the immigrants were authorized to be in the United States. A separate Pew study released earlier this year said 7.8 million immigrants, about a third of the foreign-born labor force, are unauthorized.

The disparity is even more extreme for the two-year period ending June 2010. During that time, foreign-born workers lost 400,000 jobs, while U.S.-born workers lost 5.7 million, according to the Pew Hispanic Center.

As a result, immigrants outperformed native-born workers on unemployment rates. The unemployment rate for immigrants was 8.7% in June, the most recent month cited in the study, compared to 9.7% for U.S.-born citizens. During the one-year period ended in June, the immigrant unemployment dropped by 0.6 percentage point, but it gained 0.5 point for native-born workers.

"[Immigrants] started taking an earlier and harder hit during this recession and it could be now that things could be turning up for them sooner," said Rakesh Kochhar, association director of research at the Pew Hispanic Center and co-author of the study. "Native-born workers should soon catch up with them."

One of the reasons why immigrants tend to outperform native-born Americans is because they're willing to take less desirable jobs, said Kochhar.

"They're generally more flexible," he said. "They come here to work. They don't care necessarily whether it's in New York or L.A. or Dallas or Atlanta. They also tend to be more flexible in regards to the wages and the hours they put in."

Immigrants suffered a decline in pay even as they experienced a boom in employment. From 2009 to 2010, the pay for foreign-born workers fell by 4.5%, compared to a decline of less than 1% for U.S.-born workers.

"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," read the report.

The willingness for immigrants to take jobs that Americans don't want was demonstrated this summer, when the United Farm Workers of America launched its "Take Our Jobs" campaign. In response to anti-immigrant rhetoric, the predominantly Hispanic union offered to place native-born workers in farm jobs. Several thousand Americans responded to the online ad, but only several people actually accepted the back-breaking, low-paying jobs.

Pew also said there is evidence that immigrants are becoming a much larger part of the U.S. work force. Foreign-born workers make up 15.7% of the labor force now, compared to 9.7% in 1995, according to the study. To top of page

Frontline troops push for solar energy
The U.S. Marines are testing renewable energy technologies like solar to reduce costs and casualties associated with fossil fuels. Play
25 Best Places to find rich singles
Looking for Mr. or Ms. Moneybags? Hunt down the perfect mate in these wealthy cities, which are brimming with unattached professionals. More
Fun festivals: Twins to mustard to pirates!
You'll see double in Twinsburg, Ohio, and Ketchup lovers should beware in Middleton, WI. Here's some of the best and strangest town festivals. Play
Index Last Change % Change
Dow 17,810.06 91.06 0.51%
Nasdaq 4,712.97 11.10 0.24%
S&P 500 2,063.50 10.75 0.52%
Treasuries 2.32 -0.02 -0.86%
Data as of Nov 23
Company Price Change % Change
Bank of America Corp... 17.12 0.12 0.71%
Kinder Morgan Inc 39.75 -0.17 -0.43%
Apple Inc 116.47 0.16 0.14%
Intel Corp 35.59 -0.36 -1.00%
Microsoft Corp 47.98 -0.72 -1.48%
Data as of Nov 21

Sections

This arrangement, announced Friday, illustrates how the lines have blurred between traditional TV networks and newfangled options like Netflix. More

China's central bank surprised investors last week with its first rate cut in more than two years. But get used to that -- analysts say more cuts are in the pipeline. More

Regin is malware has been lurking in computers for as long as six years, according to Symantec. But experts don't know much about where it is from, what it does and who has been targeted. More

Obama doesn't have the authority to create a startup visa, but part of his reform announcement could include a workaround for entrepreneurs: 'parole status.' More

Nearly half of all Americans say there's a chance they'll have to work during a holiday between Thanksgiving and New Year's, according to a new poll. And one in four say they'll have to work whether they want to or not. More

Most stock quote data provided by BATS. Market indices are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer.

Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Factset: FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved.

Chicago Mercantile Association: Certain market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved.

Dow Jones: The Dow Jones branded indices are proprietary to and are calculated, distributed and marketed by DJI Opco, a subsidiary of S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC and have been licensed for use to S&P Opco, LLC and CNN. Standard & Poor's and S&P are registered trademarks of Standard & Poor’s Financial Services LLC and Dow Jones is a registered trademark of Dow Jones Trademark Holdings LLC. All content of the Dow Jones branded indices © S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC 2014 and/or its affiliates.