Immigration Reform: Job Creator?

The American Action Network offers a nifty widget that tells users how many jobs immigration reform would create in their congressional districts over the next ten years. Overall, it amounts to 6 million jobs.

Obviously the finer points of the methodology are important, but here's one simple thing to bear in mind. According to the CBO, immigration reform would add about 10 million U.S. residents in the next ten years -- combine these two numbers, and we get 6 new jobs for every 10 new people. This is very similar to the current employment rate in the U.S. -- about 59 percent of the total noninstitutionalized population has a job.

Of course, because we don't expect children and the elderly to work, and because the age profile of new arrivals might not match that of the current population, these two figures don't necessarily make for an apples-to-apples comparison. If the new immigrants are disproportionately of working age, they may take more jobs than they create, and vice versa. (The CBO estimated that the bill would very slightly -- and temporarily -- increase unemployment for the current U.S. population.) And, as ThinkProgress notes, we need to consider the degree to which Americans and immigrants are even in competition for any given job. But in addition to AAN's raw numbers, we should think about the effects of immigration on a per capita basis.

Robert VerBruggen is editor of RealClearPolicy. Twitter: @RAVerBruggen

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