Thursday, September 22, 2011

Perry and immigrant workers in Texas

Governor Rick Perry has pointed to job growth in Texas during the current economic downturn as one of his main accomplishments. But analysis of the data shows that immigrants (legal and illegal) have been the primary beneficiaries of this growth since 2007, not native-born workers. This is true even though the native-born accounted for the vast majority of growth in the working-age population (age 16 to 65) in Texas. Thus, they should have received the lion’s share of the increase in employment. As a result, the share of working-age natives in Texas holding a job has declined in a manner very similar to the nation as a whole. Of jobs created in Texas since 2007, 81% were taken by newly arrived immigrant workers (legal and illegal). Of newly arrived immigrants who took jobs in Texas since 2007, it is estimated that 50% were illegal immigrants.

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