In the south, laws set to bar immigrants from gaining more jobs than native-born Americans caused some controversy and created a lot of attention over the past year. Unfortunately for some of these states, specifically Alabama, Georgia and Tennessee, it seems that despite these laws immigrants are gaining more jobs and experiencing a faster jobs growth than the native-born American workers. This is exactly what these states wanted to avoid, but due to a rapid population growth and their willingness to take nearly any job, immigrants are fairing better in the job market than the native-born.
An article in the Huffington Post pointed out that Alabama and Georgia are among the states where immigrants are experiencing a faster jobs growth in comparison to the native-born workers that reside there. This is even more interesting when you see that these two states recently passed some of the strictest and toughest immigration laws in the country. Both Alabama and Georgia require their employers to “use a federal database to verify an applicant’s immigration status before hiring, and restrict various state services and benefits to those who cannot confirm their legal resident status,” reports the Post. So how could these immigrants be gaining more jobs than the natives with these kinds of laws in place?
It seems as though the answer simply lies in the demographics of both groups. According to the Pew Research Center, the differences in the jobs growth are in direct relation to each group’s population growth. They point out that even though there are very strict laws aimed to lower immigrants in the states, the Latino population in Alabama and Tennessee continues to increase at a fast rate. In Alabama, the Latino population is experiencing a growth rate of 30 percent from the years 2008 to 2010. In Tennessee, that growth rate is at 18 percent. When you compare these growth rates to those of native-born Americans, the difference is staggering. In Tennessee, the native-born population only increased by 1.7 percent whereas in Alabama it was at a mere 2.3 percent. With such a huge difference in the population growth rate, it’s no wonder immigrants are gaining more jobs that native-born Americans: there’s a lot more of them.
Between the years of 2007 and 2011, the Latino working population as well as the Asian working population increased by 10.9 percent. These levels are higher than they were even before the start of the recession in 2007. At the same time, the white working-age population only increased by 1.3 percent and blacks at 5 percent. Such large difference in the numbers offer great explanation to the reason why immigrants are seeing a much faster job growth than native-born Americans.
It is also important to point out that immigrants are more willing to accept low paying, temporary jobs than native-born Americans. They are also more willing to move from county to county in order to find work. Native-born Americans, on the other hand, are not as willing to pick up and move from place to place to find the work they need. It has long been an argument that immigrants are willing to accept the jobs that native-born Americans seem to turn away. This can be another big reason as to why these immigrants are gaining a much better job growth percentage. As the Post points out, it will take some time to see if the laws enacted by these states to deter immigrations job gains will actually work. In the meantime, it seems as though immigrants in these states are fairing much better than the native-born Americans that live there.