Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Immigrants as the Tool to Step Up to the Brave New Economy.

This topic may be bigger than one post, so it is likely to be a continueing process of finding information. But the basic concept is that immigration is good for the USA to allow us to raise to a higher level of society. Even this should be better defined as the transition that happened when the US became an industrialiazed country from an agricultural one.

Each wave of immigrants to the USA have found a nitch that was filled. One example was the major transition from an agricultural society to an industrialized country. My perceptions come from the book "The Jungle" written around 1905. It talked about each immigrant group coming to the US and starting their jobs in the larger cities on the east coast, especially in New York City. This allowed the current population to either stay at the same jobs that was handed down or to become the mid level managers. Which tended to raise the level of income and well being.

But another example was the bringing in the smartest and brightest from the Jews and others prosecuted by Fascism in Germany and the Axis powers. Many of the developers of the nuclear bomb came from Germany in particular.

One way to look at the situation is that native born citizens create a picture of the economy and as immigrants come in they fill in the open spaces of the picture that has not been filled in yet.

In addition to fleeing totalitarian regimes people also came to the US to get an education and then stayed to become very productive members of our society. Right now H1 visas are a great tool for getting quality workers from all over the world. The regulations allow employees to pick the best while still maintaining no loss of native jobs. The employer has to state that they need that person and is willing to speak out for him or her. The US gets a very productive worker, the employer also has access to a greater pool of quality applicants, but the one person that may lose out is the employee. The last is due to the fact that the employee is tied to that employer and has less leeway to have job turnover. But of course his/her situation has to be better than the alternative or thats what they would do. That something better could be going back to their country or apply in different way.

William Polley talks about How has the employment/population ratio changed in the last few months? He shows that while adults (male and female) level of Employment to Population (Labor Participation Rates) has recovered nicely after the recession of 2001, young adults have not recovered. Their Labor Participation Rates have stayed low, which Williams asks why. I commented that is was due to immigration. My post there:

Most of the lower paid jobs (manufacturing, retail, services, agriculture...) are being filled by immigration. Thus native born children are waiting to enter the work force hopefully with better skills to compete internationally.

I believe that immigration has always allowed the US to raise up and create a stepping stone to higher levels. Just as the influx of immigrants led to a strong industrial base, the new ones will allow us to expand into new areas.

More later...



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