Jobs of Tomorrow A New Low?

by Lewis Loflin

Why is illegal immigration important in the Tri-Cities region? Most of the job creation is in the very kinds of low-paying industries tied into tourism and retirement industries that are being filled with illegal aliens. (The only exception is nursing.) The region already suffers chronic poverty that depresses wages in these occupations already.

The announced closing Quebecor in Kingsport (500 jobs), DANA in Bristol (275 jobs), layoffs at Bristol Compressors (1300+ jobs) will only increase regional poverty rates and find these people competing against illegal aliens at further depressed wages. To quote Peter Coy Business Week Online (Extract) FEBRUARY 12, 2004,

According to a new Bureau of Labor Statistics forecast, most of the big growth areas will be low-skill -- and low-paying according to a forecast released Feb. 11 by the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), a large share of new jobs will be in occupations that don't require a lot of education and pay below average.

The fastest growth of all will be for medical assistants, who require nothing more than "moderate on-the-job training." The government does the study every two years. The new one covers 2002 to 2012.

GROWING GAP. Only two of the occupations on the top-10 list of total job growth require at least a bachelor's degree (namely, post-secondary teacher and "general and operations manager"). If you didn't get any education past high school and aren't planning to, the abundance of jobs that don't require a college education is good news. Better to have a job than not. But don't expect to be well-compensated for your labors...

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics Table from

Most of the job growth are in low-end service jobs. But immigration is now hurting college graduates as well as corporations continue to replace their hi-tech workers. From Lou Dobbs Tonight April 13, 2006:

The stories are many, willing employers in need of willing employees. But if labor is tight, shouldn't wages rise? They're not.

A recently completed technical study, in fact, found just the opposite in high-tech fields. Starting salaries adjusted for inflation of computer engineers with masters led the fall, down 14 percent over the last five years. Electrical engineers and computer scientists fared only slightly better. Quoting John Miano, Programmers Guild, "We have a huge influx of low-wage workers coming into the technology fields which are holding back wages and which are causing employment problems for U.S. workers."

Bill Tucker, "The impact goes beyond wages. On online job sites, employers are very direct in specifying that they have jobs only for H1-B workers, going so far in some cases as to require that they be from a specific location.

If misery loves company, the engineers need look no further than the construction industry. Overall, construction wages last year were actually one penny lower than hourly wages in 1965, when the wages are compared using constant dollars. It was a finding that surprised even the researcher."

ALAN TONELSON, U.S. BUSINESS & INDUSTRY COUNCIL, "I was struck by the fact that after this enormous housing boom that we've had, certainly since the late 1990s, that wages in the construction industry, which, as we keep hearing is a major user of illegal immigrants, are no higher than they were 40 years ago."

Bill Tucker, "A study done last year by the University of North Carolina found that the use of illegal aliens in the construction industry cut labor costs by a billion dollars in 2004. And wages in the hospitality industry have been similarly flat during the last five years. It's very simple. A large labor pool, available labor pool is what keeps wages down.

And it is worth remembering in this debate on immigration reform, what is of the keenest interest to corporate lobbyist is not your paycheck, but getting legislation that expands that available pool of labor."

According to the Pew Hispanic Center, in both Virginia and Tennessee the illegal alien population has exploded. Tennessee in 1990 had 10,000 and in 2005 95,000, a 950% increase. Virginia had 50,000 in 1990, in 2004 235,000, an increase of over 400%.

If the Bear Stearns report of 20 million is correct, these numbers could be easily doubled. Also note most of these are big electoral vote states as well.