Policy Documents

Filling The Gap: Less-Skilled Immigration In A Changing Economy

Madeline Zavodny, and Tamar Jacoby –
June 10, 2013

In this policy study, the authors note that immigration reform is back on the agenda in Washington, and one of the most disputed questions, this year as in past immigration debates, is whether the U.S. needs more less-skilled foreign workers.

Does the U.S. economy lack workers? Do less-skilled immigrants take jobs from Americans? Or are they filling jobs that most Americans are unable or unwilling to do because the work is physically demanding, hazardous or in a part of the country where few Americans live?

This study uses the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey and the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Information Network  to examine similarities and differences in the jobs held by foreign workers and U.S.-born workers.