Just The Facts

Migrants, Mexico and the Job Market

Hispanic unemployment and illegal immigration levels from Mexico are both relatively low at the start of the Trump Administration.

Credit: Luna Vandoorne Shutterstock.com


  • In the 20-24 age group, 8.8% Hispanics were unemployed in the fourth quarter of 2016.
  • After the U.S. housing bubble burst, hundreds of thousands of Hispanic construction jobs vanished.
  • The total number of undocumented Mexicans in the US fell to 5.4 million in 2014.

1. Unemployment among U.S. Hispanics is not significantly higher than among the overall population.

2. In December 2016, the unemployment rate for Hispanics was just 5.9% — somewhat higher than the 4.7% overall U.S. unemployment rate and the 4.1% white unemployment rate.

3. However, while the Hispanic unemployment rate is only somewhat above the full employment level, unemployment for (non-Hispanic) African-Americans, at 7.9% as of December 2016, is 68% higher than the national average.

4. In the younger age cohort of those 20-24, 8.8% Hispanics were unable to find work in the fourth quarter of 2016.

5. After the U.S. housing bubble burst, hundreds of thousands of Hispanic construction jobs vanished. Many farm jobs dried up, too.

6. The flow of undocumented immigrants from Latin America reversed direction after the U.S. recession began in late 2007.

7. For example, while the total number of undocumented Mexicans in the United States peaked at 6.9 million in 2007, it fell to 5.4 million in 2014.

The upshot

Even though undocumented immigration from Latin America was turned into a big topic in the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign by Donald Trump, the actual evidence from the numbers points to a reduced problem.

Sources: The Globalist Research Center, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Fusion

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Responses to “Migrants, Mexico and the Job Market”

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  1. On January 29, 2017 at 3:20 am sentor responded with... #

    The issue should perhaps be argued on he basis of effect rather than the unemployment figures as stated in the article. As, presumably, many of the Mexicans are undocumented how is it possible to get accurate statistics? Many live in the shadows and their job status will not be recorded as many illegals will look for informal jobs. Yes, I see that the statistics come from an official source, but this does not mean questions regarding accuracy cannot be asked.
    Trump claims that drugs are pouring in over the porous border and crime related problems related to undocumented people are a serious problem. If this is the case the President is trying to do something to assist in stemming these problems and protect American citizens. Undocumented illegal immigrants pose a serious challenge to law enforcement agencies, a lack of personal information on their computer systems makes identification very difficult.
    The US has laws and the enforcement of those laws are being challenged based on unemployment figures, doesn’t make sense.