Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Immigration, emigration, and North Carolina

Anecdotal accounts (here for example) have immigrants leaving the United States because of enforcement and the economy.

Yet other anecdotal accounts discuss incentives for more migrants to come. I recently noted how the U.S. dollar is worth more now abroad. Perhaps also because there are still many job seekers in countries like Mexico but the job market there is also sagging, so the economic dynamic may work in two directions depending on the individual's location and skills.

I had these conflicting accounts in my mind when I saw a story in this morning's Charlotte Observer about job losses in North Carolina. Every year John Connaughton, an economist here at UNC Charlotte, presents an economic forecast that includes specific numbers on jobs. He sees big hits to manufacturing, insurance, and mining. But the areas where Latino immigrants are most likely to seek jobs--in service and construction--are stable.

From that perspective, at least in North Carolina we would not expect to see large numbers of immigrants leaving the state. We would, however, expect to see fewer people come because those sectors of the economy cannot absorb more workers.

Again, this is anecdotal. Future updates of the American Community Survey will tell us more as time goes on.


King Politics 12:23 PM  

Then in all likelihood we'll see fewer Latino immigrants in service and construction come here at all. Building has slowed just about everywhere except NC, Texas and a handful of other states. Those states, too, have fairly saturated job markets. How well does this news about the American job market travel to immigrant-exporting countries?

Greg Weeks 1:16 PM  

It travels very well, and quickly.

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