Last Century's immigration policy no longer works for US

To continue the current immigration policy and save the Banking Institutions, the U.S. will need to create millions of jobs -- right away. Since there is a job deficit of some 13 million jobs this decade, perhaps we should re-think immigration policy.

The economic health of the nation is generally measured by the BLS Unemployment statistic.  The Unemployment statistic is not historically comprable due to methodology changes. My interest is in immigration policy, I need an immigration related statistic that trumps the low unemployment statistic. 


BLS Employment Growth over (NonInstCiv) Population Growth by Decade:


Population Growth = 11,516,000

Employment Growth = 7,215,000 (63%)


Population Growth = 19,449,000

Employment Growth = 13,862,000 (71%)


Population Growth = 30,811,000

Employment Growth = 21,224,000 (69%)


Population Growth = 20,865,000

Employment Growth = 17,685,000 (85%)


Population Growth = 21,667,000

Employment Growth = 16,998,000 (78%)


Population Growth = 24,795,000

Employment Growth = 11,953,000 (48%)



Source data:  BLS unadjusted (

Labor force status: Civilian noninstitutional population (age: 16 and over)

Labor force status: Employed (age: 16 and over)

Period: Monthly  - December. 1949 to June, 2008

Definition: Decade

The tem "Decade" is comprised of the last reporting month (Dec) in the decade, to the following last reporting month (Dec.) in the next decade.  For example the 1950s "Decade" is December 1949 to December 1959. 

Example: Dec.1959 minus Dec 1949 = 1950s (population/employment) decade growth


Data affected by changes in population controls:

The Bush administration's "population controls" manipulate the January data. Using  January data for the 2000 decade would be the least accurate month to use from  supposedly unadjusted data.  


The Employment Deficit:

There are 13,267,000 more not-employed persons now (June 2008), than on December 31, 1999 according to BLS unadjusted data. 





Through the BLS interface, retirement age (65 and over) BLS data is only available in unadjusted format -- all data is unadjusted.

Description of data tables used:

Labor force status:  Civilian noninstitutional population (age:16 and over)

Labor force status:  Employed (age: 16 and over)

Labor force status:  Civilian noninstitutional population (age: 65 and over)

Labor force status:  Employed (age: 65 and over)

Labor force status:  Unemployed (age: 16 and over)



Subtract June 2008, "Employment Level" and "Population Level" (CNIP) from their Dec. 1999 levels to determine the Employment Growth and Population Growth respectively. The methodology for "Retierment Age Attained" (growth) and "Unemployment Level Growth" are identical to the Employment Growth formula in the previous sentence.

Retirement Age Attained:

Persons who have attained 65 years and not working are assumed to be retired and subtracted from the Population Growth to determin the "Subtotal: Population Growth minus 65yrs not working". (Persons over 65 and working are counted in Employment Levels, so no adjustment is required.)

Growth Not Employed:

Subtract the "Employment Growth" from the "Subtotal the Population Growth" to determine "Growth Not Employed in civilian workforce"

Growth in Unemployment Level:

The Unemployment levels have also grown, this growth is added to "Growth Not Employed" to determine the "Employment Deficit"

Employment Deficit:

The number of additional Not Employed persons added to the Population Levels (workforce) this decade. (i.e. above the Not Employed level of 12/31/1999) 



Image icon EmploymentPerformance2.gif20.59 KB




Pat Buchanan, regardless of how you may feel about him personally, wrote extensively on this topic in his recent book "Day of Recknoning"

The US need a break from both legal and illegal immigration - time to absorb and assimilate the huge inflow we already have.

There is no economic justification for flooding our population with an automatic underclass.

Not only do we have to stop the flow of illegals coming in for economic and security reasons, but we need to get smarter about who and how many we let in legally as well - just exactly what are they bringing to the party in terms of special skills, education or talent?

Of course illegally immigration is a symptom of globalization - Nafta has devastated the mexican ag industry - so trade reform must be a part of the solution to the immigration problem

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A major agenda of corporations is unfettered migration and it does affect wages. Anything that has sudden increases in the labor supply will, through the laws of supply and demand, lower wages. They want unlimited labor mobility and then want to control that mobility.

That said, if we're going to discuss this topic, I hope people use hard statistics because this is one issue fraught with peril and it's also critical to separate out the labor issues (the economic issues) versus the other.

Geographical location believe it or not, in many fields, isn't the only thing here. One can labor arbitrage in services whether that cheaper worker was brought into the U.S. via immigration or if they are sitting in their home country undercutting wages (outsourcing). So, one also needs to look at this in the big picture.

I do know the common business reasons for enabling illegal immigration and increasing it is to lower wages. Another is remittances, or money sent back to the home country, helping that economy. Then the claim that we need young people to prop up social security. On that score I don't believe it adds up financially.

All I ask when discussing this is cite your facts and make sure whatever you cite is dead on accurate, indisputable. There is a lot of misinformation out there and that includes even economists and think tanks, so each paper you need to go over it and make sure it's credible. Tread lightly. Thanks.

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Pat and Bay Buchanan are very interesting people. I will put "Day of Recknoning" on my todo list. (Having a hard time right now getting through Friedman's Flat Earth diatribe.)

Pat tends to call them as he sees it, but he always seemed to be the more moderate host on the old Crossfire TV program.

From her writing, I think that Bay is the true intellect.

On Illegal Immigration, I agree that NAFTA had a terrible effect on Mexican AG -- however the price war in AG could not have happened without the cheap illegal labor arbitrage and the "El Norte" encouragement from the Mexican government. For instance, it was only 3 cents per gallon that broke the backs of the Mexican dairy farmers.

I think that nearshoring is important to promote -- the families must not be economically expelled from their homes, they must retain equity and capitalize on any lower living costs. A housing requirement, or per-diem along with prevailing wage could be a solution to the migrant worker problem (high and low skill.)

The AGJOBS bill seeks to eliminate the housing requirement for an unstated housing allowance and freeze H-2b wages. We have experienced in California that even with greatly subsidized housing -- the workers will not live inside if they have to pay.

I for one, would like to be assured that the people handling food are living indoors (for health reasons), showering regularly, have health screening and have return transportation provided. Staying in touch with family and continuing to send remittances.

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Not sure what you are implying in your comment Robert?

My comment is my own opinion formed by many sourced, and I already cited above the primary source for the basis

Are you suggesting that opinion pieces are not permitted here?

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There are plenty of opinions out there. That's one of the problems. Cable TV is filled with opinion. We have opinion making a ton of money from pundits to bloggers and so one of the goals here is to look at the detailed facts. Let's get to the real statistics, the facts, the details and damn where they lead in terms of rhetoric or opinion that are currently popular.

So, what I'm implying is that this topic in my view is absolutely loaded with opinions. I mean you can get bogus posts from people who simply think it's grand to have unlimited global migration to people who have some sort of agenda to the other side of the coin, those who have some sort of socio-ethnic agenda.

This site is devoted to all things economic, United States, middle class focus, but with a caveat. Let's go into the nitty gritty facts and statistics on all of this and be objective.

It's much harder to do citizen research, to write up tables, charts, to get graphs but that's what I'm asking, hoping everyone does.

We simply do not have enough policy based on objective facts, statistics in the U.S. We do not have a long term national trade policy, most importantly an office truly analyzing the long term goals, effects, with a focus on what is in the best national interest and for the American people. We do not have a long term economic strategy either.

So, yes in a way I'm asking you to shift that paradigm and do not just echo what others may say but more look at the raw data.

Now George Borjas research (who clearly leans right and also for reduced immigration) is impeccable. Now he will maybe call for more PhD level immigrants but he makes no bones about the lower wages. His math, his methodology are sound. That's why his blog is listed, not for his results per say but because he is thorough, an exceptional researcher.

I put Krugman in the middle column for pretty much the same reason. I would never list Thomas Friedman for example because he simply parrots multinational corporate executives and I'm not sure if he can even add 3 numbers together, never mind do raw economic research.

See the difference? Take this post. It's not cited, needs to be cited and one can also question if the increase in non-working population is due to the age increase, just as an example. One needs to look at the labor force in the United States itself. Try to estimate the underemployed, those that have rolled off the BLS statistics to conclude there is a correlation.

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citizen research, citing sources

I thought that the statement: <b> BLS Employment Growth over NonInstCiv Population Growth by Decade: </b> pretty much cites the source and describes the mathmatical formula.   

What I've found with my experiement with citizen research is that shorter is better. (I did this post as an argument to "low unemployment" statistics, as proof that the economy is doing well.) 

 I had problems with this economicpopulist interface in editing my post.

After the first edit (correcting some info), the rtf editor link is no longer exposed and I couldn't get the image to display in the post, so I left it as an attachment.

You might find that the image does include BLS Series Id: numbers and does address retirement age persons in the workforce.  (A blog on aging population might be an additional post -- that could reference this one.)

The math is very simple, if any one is interested I can upload the spreadsheet to a filesharing host -- if nobody is interested -- I don't see any point as it will be deleted by the host.



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it's not detailed enough

for me. I think you need to go into more details.

On the image thing on here: Click on the rich text editor and use the image button. There you will see an upload to the site for images on one of the tabs as well as the ability to link/format them into the blog post.

Then, in the user guide to the right there are more tidbits on "how to". If you're really stuck after that, just email me off line.

In the user guide is the XHTML tags and format to embed images. (I hope all realize to embed youtubes, just cut and paste the embed code)

For complex things (like spreadsheets or large papers), just do file attachments.

Just bear in mind this is a non-partisan "all things economic site" so to make the case on this, you really need detailed stats that are not breakable to make a claim. I'm sure you are aware of the massive amounts of data suggesting that unlimited migration is "all good" so you can also tear those "studies" apart by through solid stats.

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detailed enough.


I found your posting on problems involvine IE6 on W2K. (My configuration!)

I think that is where my problem with the interface lies. (I sent a more detailed email to you.)

I'll go over and add an introduction and source section to the labor statistics post.

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Last Century's immigration

So what I am hearing is that my posts are not welcome here

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didn't say that

I'm requesting that we all dig in deep. I'm not saying that any post, has to be of a particular political agenda at all.

I'm saying to analyze policy based on very in depth facts and to put on your objective method from science and math class hat in the process.

For example, someone posted already 100% bogus data on immigration trying to claim that no immigration policy at all is good for the economy....well, guess what, he got voted off the front page because his methods are absurd. He wanted to present this simply as his own personal philosophy without looking at the data, having sound reasoning methods.

We had another try to argue for a different sort of global corporate tax code. Now some attacked him but myself and others simply tried to analyze corporate tax codes in a world where any corporation can easily relocated and manipulated national taxes.

So, even when something is unorthodox, it is my hope that people simply consider and analyze and the writer is diligent with the statistics, sticks to well established research methodology and doesn't post spin with numbers.

Now that's what I want to avoid, spin. I strongly want to avoid spin. and that doesn't matter if you're coming from the fair tax to some corporate tax reform and believe the removal of the offshore outsourcing tax incentives will simply drive corporate headquarters out of the United States to no immigration policy to an no amnesty post.

See? What matters are the details, facts and accuracy.

Immigration, for example, is vastly complex. It's a major policy component and cannot be addressed with a few simply black and white answers. Getting some real facts, causes and effects, economic implications, labor implications and so forth, well facts to me are always a good thing.

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There is so much opinion out there and little data and especially policy that is not based on labor economics and what is in the best national interests, especially working America's interests, well, hopefully this site can be unique. Take trade for example, now I wrote a clear opinion piece on a common public relations talking point, ripping it asunder, but that said, I'm trying more to write pieces pulling up policy changes, legislation, statistical details and we start talking about those things versus the rhetoric.

Take the amnesty o no argument. Now there are various points which should be taken seriously on it. But the obvious point, which both sides have said is the cause, are the magnet of illegal employers using illegal labor to avoid taxes, avoid worker safety requirements, US labor law and to union bust and undercut labor costs (wages).

Another valid argument, which again is recognized by both sides is that NAFTA and bad trade policies S. of the border have eroded opportunities for people and caused waves of migration N. Another incentive are those remittances, which believe me, is of interest to these economics S. of the US border. They are significant.

So, when one gets wrapped up in the opinion of all of it, the details on how this is affecting US labor gets lost. For example, both major unions are for amnesty. But what is often overlooked is the AFL-CIO (unlike the SEIU) was against those comprehensive immigration bills and the reason was the affect on US labor.

Now one might analyze why these two unions push different agendas and what is behind their positions. It's clear the AFL-CIO recognizes that illegal labor union busts and lower wages, so why would they be for amnesty? Well, they have some reasons for can agree or think it through or not, but at least these arguments are assuredly coming from a labor economics and worker perspective and something to examine.

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I think the amnesty argument is rather simple.

If real employer sanctions are off the table, then amnesty should be off the table.

Illegal labor, detremential to the NAFTA nearshore effort is being allowed as a legitimate deduction from corporate taxes.  The abuses in the informal economy have bled into the formal economy.

There are studies referenced in Labor Mobility and the Global Economy:  that indicate the that longer a migrant worker is away from home the less likely remittances will continue.

My opinion: The failure of guest worker programs can probably be attributed to the elimination of per-diem (housing) allowances and the long (too long) duration of the guest worker visas in the high-tech sector.

Elimination of the housing requirement/per-diem removes the economic stimuli in the U.S., forces the guest worker to become hyper competitive, all the while reducing the portion of income which can be dedicated to remittances.  

Additionally, poaching of educational resources (guest-worker to permanent migration) is not in the spirit of the GATS agreements.  The WTO is simply disinterested in the welfare of the worker.  see Labor Mobility and the Global Economy:


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very nice

that's the first time I have ever heard anyone put it that simply. I agree because from everything I have read, unfettered migration and especially illegal labor will put the race to the bottom on steroids.

But, the way that debate is going right now it sure seems they are determined to really passed unlimited migration, further underground economy, illegal labor and their favorite, guest worker Visas, at least Pres. candidates and Congressional leadership.

User guide BTW is over in the right hand column below "create content" and I tried to put the most common formatting issues there. The site will do tables. I won't let anyone run scripts though.

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