Study finds immigration boosts jobs for AmericansPublished: Wednesday, December 21, 2011 9:00 am
December 21, 2011. The US labor market is only beginning to recover from the deep recession of 2007–2009, and there are still several million fewer jobs than there were before the downturn. There have been endless debates among policymakers about ways to increase employment, with little consensus. Relatively little consideration has been given to immigration reform as a way to boost the economy.
A study released this month by the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) quantifies the strong positive effect on jobs – and the U.S. economy as a whole – due to the innovative contributions of highly-educated immigrants. From 2000-2007, every 100 immigrants with advanced degrees in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields were associated with an additional 262 jobs among U.S. natives.
Temporary foreign workers also boost employment. During the same period, every 100 H-1B workers were associated with 183 jobs among non-immigrants. Most importantly, taking into consideration ALL immigration including individuals without higher education, there is no evidence whatsoever that foreign-born workers hurt American workers. Those with higher degrees also pay far more in taxes than they receive in benefits.
The AEI paper concludes with several recommendations, including prioritizing U.S.-educated STEM graduates when allocating existing visas, and increasing the number of temporary and permanent employment-related visas.