I hate to belabor the point that “HB56 is a Jobs Killer” but the empirical evidence continues to mount. A new study now follows, and further corroborates, much of the other research and economic opinion, such as:
- “While the law may sell well politically around Alabama, residents are being sold a bill of goods by Beason and others when the economics of immigration are brought into focus.”~ Scott Beaulier is director of the Johnson Center for Political Economy at Troy University
- “Alabama’s new immigration law, while well-intentioned, will be costly to the state economy.”~ Samuel Addy, director of UA’s Center for Business and Economic Research
- “State Sen. Scott Beason, R-Gardendale, calls the immigration law a jobs bill. More a jobs-killer bill, says Art Carden, an assistant professor of economics at Rhodes College in Memphis
- “Immigrants are not a drag on the economy; they don’t take jobs from the native-born population; they don’t depress overall wage rates.”~Ben Powell, a professor of economics at Suffolk University
- If Alabama is successful and every undocumented immigrant self-deports, Alabama will lose over 18,000 jobs and 2.6 billion in economic activity.~Perryman Group study
- There is no evidence that immigrants crowd out U.S.-born workers in either the short or long run.” ~San Francisco Federal Reserve Bank
The researchers of this new study performed a comparative analysis of the economic impact of municipal level restrictive vs. non-restrictive ordinances.
This analysis is based on data from 53 cities that enacted immigrant related ordinances between January 2006 and December 2008. The study used a consistent, reliable source for gathering and measuring local economic data as it relates to job creation and business growth. Additional sources of data for measuring economic impact—namely city revenue and new home permits, among others— were considered, but data were not readily available across all communities. Of the cities analyzed, 13 are classified as non-restrictive sanctuary cities that passed official ordinances preventing local police and city employees from inquiring about the immigration status of local residents, unless required to do so under state or federal laws or court decisions. Restrictive ordinances, enforced by 40 cities included in this report, varied in scope and significance, and not all targeted undocumented immigrants specifically. While some cities enacted more punitive policies, others pursued less comprehensive strategies, such as the adoption of English-only ordinances, which promote English as the only official language.
This study only confirms, once again, that immigrants do not take native jobs but rather expand the economic pie and actually create jobs.
An average city with a restrictive ordinance has 0.18 times fewer expected number of employees than its non-restrictive counterpart. This effect, even if it is not significant at a 95 percent confidence interval, is significant at 90 percent confidence. This means that a 10 percent probability exists that the results seen are due to chance rather than the statistical modeling. For example, if the expected number of workers in an average city that enacted a non-restrictive ordinance is 100, the model and data predict that the number of employees would be 0.18 times lower (82 employees total) in a city with a restrictive immigrant-related ordinance.
The economic reality is that HB56 is a “jobs and economic-growth killer” and “wasn’t based on real economic theories and research.”
Several points to make about this. One is that some immigrants have high levels of skills. Hence the reference to “Indian doctors in hospitals.” But another is that skills are to some extent a relative concept. “Can make some pretty tasty tacos” does not count as a specialized labor market skill in Mexico, where tasty tacos are amazingly widespread and shockingly cheap. But large swathes of the United States are undersupplied with delicious tacos. Bringing people with new skills into your town creates employment opportunities for people with complementary skills. A new taqueria not only offers local consumers a place to eat, but it’s also going to need an accountant to do its taxes. It’s going to need kitchen equipment and sign installation. But for all that to get off the ground, you need the people who make the tacos.
Last but by no means least, increasing population as such can help boost a local economy. The “Texas jobs miracle” is overwhelmingly a population migration phenomenon, with the migration coming in about equal parts from Mexico and the non-Texas portions of the United States. If a lot of people move to Dayton, that means investment in renewing Dayton’s housing stock. It means more customers for Dayton’s supermarkets and convenience stores. It means a broader tax base to support cops and teachers. It means hospitals that are looking to expand, rather than shrink. It just means more of everything. People spend the majority of the money they earn, so any additional income that people earn by moving to your city also increases the total volume of spending in the city creating new income-earning opportunities for other people.