Unemployment rate drops for immigrant workers

Despite the improvement for immigrants, who make up 15.7 percent of the job market, the gains represent only about half of the 1.1 million jobs lost in the year between June 2008 and 2009. The unemployment rate for immigrants is still more than double the rate prior to the recession, when it stood at 4 percent in the second quarter of 2007.  

Between the second quarters of 2008 to 2010, foreign-born workers have lost 400,000 jobs, compared with 5.7 million jobs lost by native-born workers. 

Immigrant workers, those age 16 and older, also have increased their participation rate in the labor force from 68 percent to 68.2 from the second quarter of 2009 to the same quarter this year. That has led to a greater share of those employed, from 61.7 to 62.3 percent.  

Meanwhile, native-born workers engaged less in the labor market, with participation rates falling from 65.3 to 64.5 percent, while a smaller share — 58.3 percent vs. 59.3 — was employed in the second quarter of 2010 than in the second quarter of 2009. 

Job gains aside, immigrants took a hit in income, experiencing a sharp decline in earnings. From 2009 to 2010, the median weekly earnings of foreign-born workers decreased 4.5 percent, compared with a loss of less than 1 percent for native-born workers. Latino immigrants experienced the largest drop in wages.