The gist, as described by the NRO Staff:
According to a major new report from the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), net employment growth in the United States since 2000 has gone entirely to immigrants, legal and illegal. Using data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, CIS scholars Steven A. Camarota and Karen Zeigler found that there were 127,000 fewer working-age natives holding a job in the first quarter of 2014 than in 2000, while the number of immigrants with a job was 5.7 million above the 2000 level.
I have reservations based on some stray thoughts about the baby boom of 1946-1964. In 2000, this cohort was aged 36 to 54, so all were in their prime working years; by 2014, they (fine, "we") were aged 50 to 68 and many had presumably retired.
So on a gross basis, maybe - MAYBE - a decline in US jobholders and workforce participation should not be a surprise; on an age-adjusted basis maybe workforce participation rates have been steady and all is well. [More on that here].
However, the CIS presents data that seems to answer that objection:
Other Ways of Defining the Working-Age Population. We see a similar decline in work no matter how we define the working-age population.... If we examine the 25- to 54-year-old native-born population, which is often seen by economists and demographers as the core of the work force, it shows the same pattern of decline. Their employment rate declined from 82.4 percent in 2000 to 80.5 percent in 2007 and was 76.7 percent in the first quarter of 2014. In contrast to natives, the share of immigrants in this age group working increased from 2000 to 2007, and did not decline as much as it did for natives during the great recession (Table 3). No matter how the working-age is defined, there has been a very significant decline in work among the native-born in absolute terms and relative to immigrants.
Well, then, hmm. Even Paul Krugman has admitted that the sun rises in the East waving in cheap labor reduces wages, which presumably is tough on unskilled natives but also discourages others from working.
Of course, on even numbered days progressives wring their hands about rising income inequality, without ever acknowledging the likely link between immigration (legal and illegal) and inequality. US inequality, that is - a President of the Americas would be pleased to see the rising standard of living in Central America as workers in America send money home, which is worth keeping in mind.
FROM THE ARCHIVES: The Times did a big survey of the history of the War on Poverty in the US which included this laugher:
The more important driver of the still-high poverty rate, researchers said, is the poor state of the labor market for low-wage workers and spiraling inequality. Over the last 30 years, growth has generally failed to translate into income gains for workers — even as the American labor force has become better educated and more skilled. About 40 percent of low-wage workers have attended or completed college, and 80 percent have completed high school.
Economists remain sharply divided on the reasons, with technological change, globalization, the decline of labor unions and the falling value of the minimum wage often cited as major factors. But with real incomes for a vast number of middle-class and low-wage workers in decline, safety-net programs have become more instrumental in keeping families’ heads above water.
In TimesWorld, when the topic is the American poor, immigration is happening in some other country.
A THOUGHT WITHOUT A HOME: Even as income (or wealth) inequality has been rising in the US and most European nations over the last thirty years, inequality between nations (e.g., the Chinese middle class versus the US middle class) has surely been falling. Discuss...
LATE ADD: A mere three weeks later Tyler Cowen takes to the Times with this:
Income Inequality Is Not Rising Globally. It's Falling.
Income inequality has surged as a political and economic issue, but the numbers don’t show that inequality is rising from a global perspective. Yes, the problem has become more acute within most individual nations, yetincome inequality for the world as a whole has been falling for most of the last 20 years. It’s a fact that hasn’t been noted often enough.
I am so far ahead of the curve I think I am catching up to myself from behind...