Rick Perry has been using “Texas job growth” as a talking point in his seeking of the GOP nomination for president, but a recent report by CIS (“Who Benefited from Job Growth In Texas? A Look at Employment Gains for Immigrants and the Native-Born, 2007 to 2011“) largely deflates this claim. The report:
Governor Rick Perry (R-Texas) has pointed to job growth in Texas during the current economic downturn as one of his main accomplishments. But analysis of Current Population Survey (CPS) data collected by the Census Bureau show that immigrants (legal and illegal) have been the primary beneficiaries of this growth since 2007, not native-born workers. This is true even though the native-born accounted for the vast majority of growth in the working-age population (age 16 to 65) in Texas. Thus, they should have received the lion’s share of the increase in employment. As a result, the share of working-age natives in Texas holding a job has declined in a manner very similar to the nation a whole.
Among the findings:
- Of jobs created in Texas since 2007, 81 percent were taken by newly arrived immigrant workers (legal and illegal).
- In terms of numbers, between the second quarter of 2007, right before the recession began, and the second quarter of 2011, total employment in Texas increased by 279,000. Of this, 225,000 jobs went to immigrants (legal and illegal) who arrived in the United States in 2007 or later.
- Of newly arrived immigrants who took a job in Texas, 93 percent were not U.S. citizens. Thus government data show that more than three-fourths of net job growth in Texas were taken by newly arrived non-citizens (legal and illegal).
- The large share of job growth that went to immigrants is surprising because the native-born accounted for 69 percent of the growth in Texas’ working-age population (16 to 65). Thus, even though natives made up most of the growth in potential workers, most of the job growth went to immigrants.
- The share of working-age natives holding a job in Texas declined significantly, from 71 percent in 2007 to 67 percent in 2011. This decline is very similar to the decline for natives in the United States as a whole and is an indication that the situation for native-born workers in Texas is very similar to the overall situation in the country despite the state’s job growth.
- Of newly arrived immigrants who took jobs in Texas since 2007, we estimate that 50 percent (113,000) were illegal immigrants. Thus, about 40 percent of all the job growth in Texas since 2007 went to newly arrived illegal immigrants and 40 percent went to newly arrived legal immigrants.
- Immigrants took jobs across the educational distribution. More than one out three (97,000) of newly arrived immigrants who took a job had at least some college.
- These numbers raise the question of whether it makes sense to continue the current high level of legal immigration and also whether to continue to tolerate illegal immigration.