Foreign-Born Gain More Jobs During Slow Recovery

By Ruxandra Guidi
November 06, 2010

Since June of last year, foreign-born workers gained 656,000 jobs while native-born workers lost over 1.2 million.

Rakesh Kochhar, Associate Director for Research at the Pew Hispanic Center, analyzed the U.S. Census Bureau and Department of Labor data. He says the study looks at immigrant workers from all nationalities, though the majority are of Hispanic descent.

"The job gains have been widespread, but most of the job growth we are seeing is in blue-collar work," said Kochhar. "Construction, and eating, drinking, lodging, the hospitality industry, things like that."

Kochhar says that native-born workers have had job losses, but overall their job prospects have improved from one year to the next.

Even as immigrants managed to gain jobs in the recovery, they experienced a sharp decline in earnings.

From 2009 to 2010, the median weekly earnings of foreign-born workers decreased 4.5 percent, compared with a loss of less than 1 percent for native-born workers.

Latino immigrants experienced the largest drop in wages out of all groups.