A 2017 analysis of labor force participation rates using the government’s Current Population Survey (CPS) data for Tennessee, shows that:
immigrants (legal and illegal) accounted for all of the net increase in the number of working-age (16-65) people holding a job in Tennessee between the first quarter of 2007 and the first quarter of 2017 – even though the native-born accounted for 77 percent of growth among the total working-age population. Prior analysis indicates that 30 percent to 40 percent of immigrants in Tennessee are in the country illegally. Of the 229,000 immigrants in the state working, 70,000 to 90,000 are likely to be illegal immigrants.
Not much has changed from when the article Who Got the Jobs in Tennessee?, was published by the Center for Immigration Studies in 2014:
All of Tennessee’s employment growth since 2000 has gone to immigrants, yet natives accounted for two-thirds of population growth.
Reference to “immigrants” in both the 2014 and updated 2017 analyses include both legal and illegal entrants. Both reviews used CPS survey data which is collected by the federal government and is considered “the nation’s primary source of information on the labor market.” This data measures the percentage of the population that is either working or looking for work. The CPS survey also includes information about citizenship and place of birth. “Immigrants or the foreign-born (legal and illegal) are individuals who were not U.S. citizens at birth).”
Findings in the 2017 update include:
- The official unemployment rate in Tennessee is low because it only includes those who have looked for a job in the last four weeks prior to the survey. It does not count those who have given up looking for work and have dropped out of the labor force entirely.
- The labor force participation rate, the share of working-age natives working or looking for work, has not returned to pre-recession levels in Tennessee. In 2007, 75 percent of working-age natives were in the labor force; in 2017 it was 70 percent.
- Older natives in Tennessee did make some employment gains. In 2017 there were 30,000 more native-born Tennesseans over the age of 65 working than in 2007. It is worth adding that there are relatively few immigrants over age 65 in the state so older Tennesseans face much less job competition from immigrants than those under age 65.
The Partnership for a New American Economy (PNAE) Tennessee report is consistent with the CIS report in that illegal aliens come to Tennessee for “work opportunities” and that “undocumented immigrants are more likely to be working-aged than natives or other immigrants” in fact, “in the prime of their working years.”
The 2015 Measure of America report ranked Tennessee as having the ninth highest percentage of “disconnected youth”– those between the ages of 16 – 24 who are not in school, are unemployed, and have no career path. The Nashville-Murfreesboro-Franklin corridor was estimated to have approximately 29,283 disconnected youth, of whom 17.6% are black and 10.4% are white, a “continuing trend” unrelated to the 2007 recession.
The various reports seem to be sending a pretty clear signal that continuing support by Tennessee politicians to “welcome” illegal aliens to the state and would-be politicians to support entrepreneurial pursuits by illegal aliens, will only serve to further displace native-born Tennesseans from employment opportunities.