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August 15, 2014

Jobs crisis continues as low pay, immigrants dominate employment picture

America’s jobs crisis is not easing. Although statistics indicate that the unemployment rate has improved, the jobs created have been lower in pay and taken in large measure by immigrants.

Officially, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) latest employment report gives a “U-3” unemployment rate of 6.2%, the most widely reported indicator of the jobs picture. The more accurate figure, known as the “U-6,” which includes those unemployed, employed only part time, or just marginally attached to the work force is a far higher 12.2%.

BLS also notes that the disturbingly high number of long-term unemployed remained at a very high 3.2 million, a number accounting for 32.9% of all those unemployed. As noted in a U.S. News study,“The long-term unemployment rate remains more than double what it averaged before the downturn…and may be putting downward pressure on the overall participation rate.”

But even that far higher number doesn’t outline the real challenge facing American citizens.

Investors Business Daily notes that the reported rise in employment from the depths of the great recession “was almost exactly matched by an equal number of “involuntary” part-time jobs—that is, workers who want a full-time job but can’t find part time. You can thank Obamacare’s 30-hour-a-week rule for this disappearance of full time jobs. Meanwhile, the overall labor force participation rate remained at its three-decade low.”

The jobs that have come back following the depths of the recession have been lower paying than those that were lost. The Wall Street Journal “The job market is a far cry from what it was before the financial crisis slammed the economy in 2008. The number of jobs in manufacturing, construction and government—typically well-paying fields—has shrunk, while lower- wage work grew. The U.S. has 1.6 million fewer manufacturing jobs than when the recession began, but 941,000 more jobs in the accommodation and food-service sector. More than 40% of the jobs added in just the past year have come in generally lower-paying fields such as food service, retail, and temporary help.”

The bad news for Americans doesn’t stop there. An analysis by the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) notes that “two thirds of the net increase in employment since President Obama took office has gone to immigrant workers, primarily legal immigrants. [but also including some illegals]”

CIS outlines three steps taken by the Obama Administration that has tipped the scales in favor of immigrants versus native workers:

  • [President Obama] offered work authorization to an estimated two million illegal immigrants who arrived in the country before age 16.
  • When auditing employers who hire illegal workers, the Administration has not detained the illegal workers as a matter of policy, allowing them to take new jobs.
  • The Administration called on the Supreme Court in 2010 to strike down Arizona’s law requiring employers to verify the legal status of new workers.
  • The replacement of native workers with immigrants produces a downward pressure on wages, and edges out American workers at the lower end of the earnings scale.

Overall, as noted by the Wall Street Examiner, “Job growth is too slow to grow the U.S. out of its unemployment problem. As for the quality of the new jobs being created, let’s not even go there.

About the Author:  Frank V. Vernuccio, Jr., J.D. is the editor-in-chief of the New York Analysis of Policy & Government and the co-host of the popular WVOX weekly radio show, “The Vernuccio/Allison Report.” He is a regular columnist and contributor for a number of newspapers and other news outlets, and previously was an editor of legislative affairs for a major publishing company. Before moving to writing and broadcasting full time, he served in both Democrat and Republican administrations within New York State.



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