18 April 2012

Unemployment May Be Worse Than We Think

One million Mexicans said they returned from the US between 2005 and 2010, according to a new demographic study of Mexican census data. That's three times the number who said they'd returned in the previous five-year period.
And they aren't just home for a visit: One prominent sociologist in the US has counted "net zero" migration for the first time since the 1960s.
Experts say the implications for both nations are enormous – from the draining of a labor pool in the US to the need for a radical shift in policies in Mexico, which has long depended on the billions of dollars in migrant remittances as a social welfare cornerstone.

In a sense, massive immigration can be a good problem to have, since it indicates, if nothing else, that people want to be in your country.  Thus, the net zero rate of immigration is troubling, as a contra-indicator, because it shows that foreigners are less-inclined to believe that the US is a place of opportunity.  This further suggests* that the unemployment situation may be worse than we think.

If potential migrants don’t think that they can find a way to make money here, whether entrepreneurially or by having a job, then it stands to reason that they think their economic opportunities are not particularly good.  In essence, the economy is terrible, particularly as it regards employment.  I realize that this is not exactly news, but I think it’s important to point out that reduced immigration kind of undermines the rosy employment picture the federal government has been trying to paint for some time.

* Though does not necessarily prove.

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