As the national conversation shifts from tackling America’s mounting debt to job creation, it is important to take stock of the numbers. On top of the 14 million unemployed Americans, 9 million part-time workers are searching for a full-time job. In addition, 7 million have simply given up looking and therefore not included in the statistics. This adds up to 30 million. Unfortunately if America does not address its broken immigration system these historic high unemployment figures will linger for many more years irrespective of who is sitting in the White House.
Once again, let us look at the numbers. According to the Economic Policy Institute, the economy needs to create 16.9 million jobs to absorb the existing unemployed and those entering the job market if the goal is to reduce unemployment in the next five years from 9.1 percent to 5 percent. That is an average of 282,000 jobs a month — a herculean task (in the boom years of 1993 -2000 the economy created 240,000 jobs per month). The first order of business should be to manage our immigration system in such a way that shifts the labor supply curve leftwards instead of to the right: in other words, we need to address those factors that are causing the supply of labor to increase; and one of those factors is immigration (both illegal and legal).