Center for Immigration Studies CIS Labor and Jobs studies All CIS publications

Wages, Labor and Job Studies from the Center for Immigration Studies

The Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) is the nation's only research organization focused solely on research of issues related to U.S. immigration policy.

Here is a selected collection CIS Articles and studies:

Increasing the Supply of Labor Through Immigration: Measuring the Impact on Native-born Workers by George Borjas, April 2004

Economic theory predicts that increasing the supply of labor by legalizing illegal aliens will reduce earnings for natives in competition with immigrants. Census data from 1960 through 2000 are used to examine the economic impact of increases in the number of immigrant workers by their education level and experience in the work force. Any sizable increase in the number of immigrants will inevitably lower wages for some American workers. Statistical analysis shows that when immigration increases the supply of workers in a skill category, the earnings of native-born workers in that same category fall. The negative effect will occur regardless of whether the immigrant workers are legal or illegal, temporary or permanent.

A Huge Pool of Potential Workers: Unemployment, Underemployment, and Non-Work Among Native-Born Americans, by Steven A. Camarota, Karen Jensenius, December 2009

The U-6 is broader measure of employment that the Bureau of Labor Statistics uses. It includes those involuntarily working part-time, and the unemployed as well as people who would like to work, but who have not looked for a job recently. There are also individuals who are not in the labor force at all. These numbers shows the situation is particularly bad for minorities, the young, and less-educated Americans. These are workers in the labor force who face the most competition from both legal immigrants and illegal immigrants.

Trends in Immigrant and Native Employment, by Steven A. Camarota, Karen Jensenius, Center for Immigration Studies May 2009

As a result of the current recession, immigrants (legal and illegal) now have significantly higher unemployment than natives. However, the least educated immigrants still have a lower unemployment rate than their native-born counter parts. The immigrant unemployment rate is now 5.6 percentage points higher than in the third quarter of 2007, before the recession began. Native unemployment has increased 3.8 percentage points over the same period.

Jobs Americans Won't Do? A Detailed Look at Immigrant Employment by Occupation, by Steven A. Camarota, Karen Jensenius, August 2009

Census Bureau data collected from 2005 to 2007 show that even before the recession there were only a tiny number of majority-immigrant occupations. Of the 465 civilian occupations, only four are majority immigrant. These four occupations account for less than 1 percent of the total U.S. workforce. In addition, native-born Americans comprise 47 percent of workers in these occupations. There are 93 occupations in which 20 percent or more of workers are immigrants. These high-immigrant occupations are primarily, but not exclusively, lower-wage jobs that require relatively little formal education.


This is a focused research website from the Center for Immigration Studies for those researching employment, labor and wages as impacted by mass immigration into the United States. For a broader range of research, see the main Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) website.

See: Jobs Reports 1 | Jobs Reports 2 | Jobs Reports 3 | Jobs Reports 4

Read all Center for Immigration Studies publications.

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