Immigration and the Financial Crisis

Immigration and the Financial Crisis

The United States and Australia Compared

Monash Studies in Global Movements series

Edited by John Higley, John Nieuwenhuysen and Stine Neerup

Structural needs for immigrant labour in health care, restaurant, tourism, agricultural and other economic sectors, together with harsher economic circumstances in most sending countries, almost certainly ensure the continuation of large-scale immigration to the US and Australia. But in harder times, especially in the US, sustaining this immigration while managing immigrants’ economic and social integration are daunting tasks. This illuminating book analyses how well, and in what ways, the US and Australia will meet these challenges.

Chapter 8: Immigration Status and Jobs Lost During the US Recession of 2007–09

Robert G. Cushing

Subjects: development studies, migration, politics and public policy, migration, public policy, social policy and sociology, migration, urban and regional studies, migration

Extract

Robert G. Cushing Immigrants at all socioeconomic levels have contributed mightily to American society throughout its history. Yet, when the US economy lurches through a jobless recovery in the aftermath of a severe recession and over two million authorized immigrants enter the country in the same period (Department of Homeland Security, 2010a), the question is not whether immigrants have an impact on the US economy, especially the labour force, but how to capture a sense of that impact. Analysing the relationship between US-born and immigrant workers during a severe economic downturn is a different exercise from considering that relationship over a period of sustained economic growth with only occasional (and mild) interruptions. Effects over the long term reflect the accretion of incremental shifts. In a severe downturn changes happen quickly, dramatically and unpredictably. Any economic downturn has an uneven impact on different industries and different regions of the country. Where US-born and immigrant workers happen to be located in terms of industrial mix or geographic area can make a difference in shaping the relationship between them. Such structural differences must be taken into account in any attempt to assess the impact of immigration status on jobs lost during a severe recession. Variations of human capital and segmented labour market theory dominate existing research on the economic outcomes of US-born and foreign workers. This approach directs particular attention to differences in educational attainment and industrial location to account for different outcomes between US-born and foreign workers. Research findings have been inconsistent,...

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