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Immigration and Employment

Workers have disappeared in the US.  Where they have gone is not clear, according to Bloomberg:

One estimate found at least 2.1 million who retired earlier then expected. Another calculated a shortfall of 2 million immigrants at the height of the pandemic. Other research pointed to a million or more out of work because of long Covid.

Elsewhere, University of California, Davis economists found that immigration slowed to a trickle during lockdowns. This led to 2 million fewer working-age immigrants in the US by 2021 than if the historic trend had continued. While that could have made up a big chunk of missing workers at the height of the pandemic, immigration has since picked up and likely plays a smaller role in America’s worker shortage today, Davis professor Giovanni Peri said.

However, the discussion of immigration by appears to deal only with legal immigration.  While legal immigration slowed to trickle, illegal immigration along the southern border grew exponentially.  That study said that one million of the missing two million immigrants would have been college educated; that certainly does not apply to the millions of immigrants along the southern border. 

NBC News reports that in 2022, the period discussed above, there were 2.76 million border crossings. 

What is happening to the millions of illegal immigrants crossing the southern border, who are roughly equal to the number of legal immigrants that economists say we need?  They will not be working in the tech industry, but they could work in the service industries.  Why are they not?  If they were going to work, we would not have such a severe labor shortage, since many of the shortages are in the service industries.  I am concernen that many of them are living on various kinds of welfare and not contributing to the US economy.  Some are no doubt working illegally and not registered for Social Security or other means of tracking them.  It looks like economists and immigrantion experts are talking at cross purposes.  And it looks like economists are saying that illegal immigrants (as opposed to legal immigrants) do not contribute to the US economy.  They appear to be a huge drag on it. 

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