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Employment & the Economy

Employment & the Economy

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As workers and consumers, immigrants play a role in the labor markets and economies of the countries in which they settle. The research collected here examines how immigrants fare in the labor market, whether they are affected differently than native-born workers during cycles of boom and bust, the role of immigration policymaking as a lever of competitiveness, immigrant employment by sector and skill, and the fiscal impacts of immigration. MPI's research also assesses the role of temporary workers and the labor recruitment process.

Recent Activity

Mexican workers in Canada
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Policy Briefs
January 2018
By  Kathleen Newland and Andrea Riester
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Immigration flows to the United States have noticeably slowed in the last year, raising fundamental questions for policymakers and analysts about the effect the economic crisis is having on inflows and return migration. MPI's Demetrios G. Papademetriou and Aaron Terrazas assess the potential impacts by examining recent data, the likely behavior of immigrants, and immigration history.

For many Armenians, working abroad and sending money home has become the main way of coping with poverty and limited job prospects. Aleksandr V. Gevorkyan, Arkady Gevorkyan, and Karine Mashuryan examine recent labor migration flows, the growth in remittances, and concerns about the country's dependence on both.

In response to an agricultural worker shortage over 40 years ago, Canada initiated a temporary migration program to brings workers from the Caribbean and later Mexico. But this "model" program also has its drawbacks, as Tanya Basok of the University of Windsor explains.

Migrants' networks and relatively small travel distances help explain migration from one developing country to another. Dilip Ratha and William Shaw of the World Bank look at these and other reasons for and effects of South-South migration.

In the 1990s, Mexican immigrants began to leave California, Texas, and Illinois for the so-called new settlement states where they had not previously resided. As Ivan Light of UCLA explains, their reasons for leaving or bypassing Los Angeles were both economic and political.

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Recent Activity

Audio
March 15, 2018

This discussion, featuring California's Labor Commissioner and the head of the Tennessee Bureau of Workers' Compensation, launched a report that examines state innovations in labor standards enforcement in low-wage, immigrant-dense industries. With wage underpayment, payroll fraud, and other violations widespread in industries such as construction and car-washing, the discussion focused on how targeted enforcement can deter practices that hurt native-born and immigrant workers alike, cost state tax revenue, and disadvantage law-abiding employers. 

Reports
March 2018

In low-wage industries, from construction to food service, labor-standards violations have become widespread—with major consequences for law-abiding employers, state tax revenue, and native-born and immigrant workers. As the federal government steps back from workplace regulation, this report examines the innovative approaches conservative and liberal states alike are using to enforce labor standards more strategically.

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Together, Canada, Mexico, and the United States are home to nearly one-quarter of the world's migrants. Despite shifts in the profile of those who migrate and changing demographic realities across the region, such as population aging, perceptions and policies remain set in earlier eras. This article explores the intersection of migration and population dynamics in North America and the Northern Triangle of Central America.

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After receiving more than 2 million asylum seekers in 2015-16, European countries are turning to the task of integrating the newcomers, including getting refugees into work. This article explores labor market integration of refugees in five Northern European countries—Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, and Sweden—drawing key lessons for today from the experiences of earlier groups of humanitarian arrivals.

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Immigration has driven economic and social development in Australia for more than two centuries. Even as more than one-fourth of the country’s population is foreign born and Australia ranks third among top refugee resettlement countries worldwide, controversy surrounding its hardline treatment of asylum seekers arriving by boat has cast a shadow on its reputation as a welcoming country, as this article explores.

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The United States is by far the world's top migration destination, home to roughly one-fifth of all global migrants. In 2016, nearly 44 million immigrants lived in the United States, comprising 13.5 percent of the country's population. Get the most sought-after data available on immigrants and immigration trends, including top countries of origin, legal immigration pathways, enforcement actions, health-care coverage, and much more.

Policy Briefs
January 2018

Although in many countries immigrants fill labor gaps in fields such as agriculture and construction, few legal migration pathways exist for low-skilled workers. As states meet to negotiate a Global Compact for Safe, Orderly, and Regular Migration, this policy brief takes stock of the channels available for such workers to move legally and take up work abroad, highlighting promising practices and policy gaps.

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An unannounced sweep of 98 convenience stores by U.S. immigration authorities—resulting in the arrest of 21 unauthorized workers—may signal a new approach to worksite enforcement under the Trump administration, moving away from a strategy of paper-based audits that resulted in higher employer fines and fewer worker arrests. This article explores worksite enforcement over recent decades.

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