Although many proponents of immigration claim that foreigners living in the United States only take jobs that Americans don’t want to do, a new report from the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) suggests otherwise.
According to the independent research institution that examines the impact of immigration on the U.S., competition with immigrants—both legal and illegal—partly explains the decline of the share of U.S.-born teens in the labor force that has been observed in recent decades.
The report, titled A Drought of Summer Jobs: Immigration and the Long-Term Decline in Employment Among U.S.-Born Teenagers, found that the summer of 2009 was the worst ever for job-seeking U.S.-born teenagers (ages 16-19), with only one-third of them working.
Moreover, although the bad economy has contributed to this situation, the report found that between the summers of 1994 and 2000—when the economy was expanding—the labor force participation of U.S.-born teens declined from 64 percent to 61 percent, and by the summer of 2007 it was down to 48 percent.
According to CIS estimates, immigrants and teenagers tend to do the same type of work. In fact, in the 10 occupations employing the most U.S.-born teenagers, one in five workers was an immigrant in 2007.