Skip to main content

Does Anybody Really Know What Is Going On With Jobs and the Economy?

By February 12, 2024Commentary

There is a real issue with underlying data on the economy and the labor market.  A lot of what we see relies on surveys with low response rates.  The temptation for political fiddling is high.  “Adjustment” methods are frequently used that might mask real trends.  I noted last week that one reason the jobs market might actually be pretty strong is the immense number of illegal aliens coming into this country since Bidementia took office.  Those people are typically eager to work at any job.  Their net economic contribution is unclear, since they also tend to get a lot of government benefits in certain states.  What is true, according to the government statistics, is that all the net job growth in the last couple of years has been among illegal aliens, native-born job-holders have actually declined.  Some of this may be due to age differences in legal and illegal residents of the country, and a lot of older people retired during the epidemic.

So now, of course, we will begin to see illegal immigration justified as being good for, indeed, necessary for economic growth.  Jerome Powell has already suggested this, while taking a swipe at Americans born here.  The other distressing fact apparent from official data is that all the job growth has been in part-time jobs.  Maybe a lot of people want to work part-time, but coupled with a rise in the number of multiple job-holders, doesn’t seem like an indication of a strong economy.  The Congressional Budget Office in its most recent ten year outlook for the US economy and the federal fiscal situation, claims that all this excess immigration is a net economic benefit.  (If you want to see how bad our deficit and debt problem is, read this report.)  I am all for a reasonable number of skilled, willing to work, foreigners coming to the US legally.  I think that is good for the economy and for innovation.  I doubt, however, that allowing unlimited numbers of illegal immigrants has been a net positive.  I don’t think you would hear all the squealing from sanctuary cities if it was.  Very high costs are incurred for housing, medical care, food and other needs of these people.  And some fraction are clearly criminals, which doesn’t exactly benefit the economy.  But I would guess the Bidementia campaign, if there is one, will try to make hay by claiming that all those illegals are keeping the economy strong.  (ZH Post)   (CBO Report)

Leave a comment