Native-born Americans lost jobs, but Asians, Indians did not

By Arun Kumar, IANS,

Washington: With the exception of Asian Americans, native-born Americans lost more than a million jobs while foreign-born workers gained hundreds of thousands of jobs as the country emerged from a painful recession, according to a new report.

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In April, May and June this year, compared with the same period last year, foreign-born workers gained 656,000 jobs, while native-born workers lost 1.2 million jobs, according to an analysis of economic trends issued Friday by the Pew Hispanic Centre.

But Asian Americans, including Indians, had a different experience. In their case, employment of the native born increased by 208,000 from the second quarter of 2009 to the second quarter of 2010, and employment of immigrants decreased by 102,000.

The unemployment rate for native-born Asians fell from 9.9 percent to 8.7 percent; for foreign-born Asians, it increased from 6.7 percent to 7 percent.

“There is a substantial difference in how the economic recovery is working out for the native-born and the foreign-born,” said Rakesh Kochhar, associate director of the centre and co-author of the new report.

“Only the immigrant experience has been a positive one,” he said. “The native-born experience – the best that can be said is, ‘They bled less than in the last year’.”

Key findings foreign born and native born:

* The foreign-born working-age population (ages 16 and older) in the US increased by 709,000 from the second quarter of 2009 to the second quarter of 2010. That marks a reversal from the preceding year, when the foreign-born working-age population shrank by 95,000.

* The construction sector was a leading source of job losses in the recession, and it remains a leading source of unemployment for native-born workers during the recovery.

Of the 1.2 million jobs lost by native-born workers from the second quarter of 2009 to the second quarter of 2010, 645,000 jobs were lost in construction alone.

* Median weekly earnings of both native-born and foreign-born workers inched up 1.0 percent from 2008 to 2009 — from $651 to $657 for the native born and from $544 to $550 for immigrants, in 2010 prices.

* In the recovery from 2009 to 2010, median weekly wages of foreign-born workers fell to $525, a loss of 4.5 percent. The wages of native-born workers were virtually unchanged, standing at $653 in the second quarter of 2010.

(Arun Kumar can be contacted at [email protected])