Employment: Does immigration lengthen dole queues?
10 January 2012
“Immigration does not cause unemployment,” leads the Independent, following a report by the National Institute of Economic and Social Research that contradicts claims that the inflows of foreign nationals into the UK causes unemployment amongst British-born workers. According to the report, there is "no association" between higher immigration and joblessness – even as Britain faces its worst recession in generations: "immigration acts as an economic stimulus, pushing total employment levels higher and dole claimant numbers lower than they would otherwise have been".
The Institute’s economists argue that:
… the interaction between migrant inflows and GDP emerges as positive, indicating that during periods of lower growth, migrant inflows are associated with ... slower [dole] claimant growth than would otherwise have occurred.
Over in Italy, employment is on the rise again after a 3 year fall triggered by the economic crisis, notes La Stampa. Latest data from the National Institute of Statistics (ISTAT) reports that jobs held by Italian citizens grew by 39,000 in the third quarter of 2011. Employment among immigrant workers, whose number has been steadily rising in recent years, continued to grow, albeit at a slower pace, up 120,000 jobs compared to 167,000 in the Q2 2011. Is it a positive signal of a progressive recovery from the crisis?”, asks sociologist Luca Ricolfi on the Turin daily –
I fear the answer is no. […] Something new is happening: after years of crisis, Italians are realising that they can no longer afford to retire early, to accept top level jobs only and hold out for better times. We are not yet seeing direct competition, but [employers] are reacting to the crisis by reducing the demand for foreign labour and [employees] not abandoning the jobs they hold. […] The apparently unstoppable rise in foreign employment now seems bound to slow down, if not to cease.
But the crisis is also prompting a growing number of Italian unemployed to give up looking for work, notes Corriere della Sera, quoting data from Eurostat’s Underemployed and Potentially Active Labour Force statistics. 2.7 million Italians, the highest in the EU, out of a total of 8.2 million, are available for work but not seeking it. The only countries where pessimism over employment prospects is still relatively low are Germany, France and Belgium.