New York Study Refutes Immigrant Worker Perceptions

By Jon E. Dougherty at 19 Nov 2010

(Newsroom America) -- A study by a Long Island-based group found that a huge influx of legal and illegal immigrant workers has not led to widespread displacement of American-born workers, contrary to perceptions.

The study, conducted by the Fiscal Policy Institute, a New York-based independent research organization, found that immigrants in the region are widely employed in a number of occupations, with more than half holding white-collar jobs.

Despite that, American-born workers aren't suffering from increased unemployment due to the influx, for the most part, though some demographics have seen a spike in joblessness.

"The analysis finds very little basis for the frequently voiced concern that immigrants may be displacing U.S.-born workers," said the study, which was based in part on U.S. Census Bureau data.

"As immigrants have come to play an increasingly important role in the Long Island economy, they have for the most part been readily absorbed into the labor market," it said.

The influx of immigrants into the region has led to increased tensions among the various ethnic groups, but the study's authors say a rise in anti-immigrant sentiment could wind up damaging the local economy.

"In a volatile political context, Long Island business, political and nonprofit leaders should be clearly aware of the overall positive role immigration has played in the local economy," said the study.

Still, the study found that the the benefits of the region's bustling economy weren't being shared equally. Data analyzed by the institute found that one group in particular - black men with no more than a high school education - saw their unemployment rate rise from 6.2 percent from 1990 to 2007.

Unemployment rates for American-born men and women, meanwhile, were generally unchanged during the same period, with noticeable drops in unemployment rates for black and Hispanic women, the study found.

© 2010 Newsroom America.

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