A few days before the election the folks from Pew Hispanic Center released numbers that showed that people born outside the U.S. were experiencing a quicker recovery than U.S.-born people. Pew found that immigrant workers gained 656,000 jobs while U.S.-born workers lost an estimated 1.2 million jobs between June 2009 and June of this year.
But there’s much more to the picture.
Pew found that even though immigrants posted job gains between June 2009 and 2010, they also experienced a sharp drop in wages. In that same time period, immigrant workers’ median weekly earnings decreased by 4.5 percent, even though U.S.-born workers saw a comparative 1 percent drop in their wages. Pew found that Latino immigrants experienced the largest drop in wages of all. So the report shows that immigrants, who experience greater volatility in the job market than U.S.-born workers, were likely able to get back to work faster because they took lower pay.
The recovery has been uneven even among immigrants, however. Black, Latino and white immigrants reduced their unemployment rates, but the unemployment rate for Asian immigrants increased. The report doesn’t make distinctions between undocumented immigrants and those who are legal residents or even U.S. citizens. Neither does it discuss in great detail the kinds of work that immigrants are getting.