Some economics of immigration and other forms of labour force and population growth

One of my puzzles about immigration is the claim that they take jobs from natives. This is the lump of labour fallacy: that there is a fixed amount of work to be done in the world, so any increase in the amount each worker can produce reduces the number of available jobs.

Immigration is population growth. The other method of population growth is natives of the country having children and these children growing up to enter the workforce.

labour2

No one complains about new work force entrants taking the jobs of existing workers. Somehow, no matter how fast or how slow the population may be, jobs are always available.

The baby boom may have slightly increased the natural unemployment rate simply because there were more young people entering the workforce for the first time and job shopping.

This job shopping is when newcomers to the workforce move around a lot more as they find the specific jobs, employers, occupations and industries that suit their talents and inclinations. After about 10 to 15 years of job shopping, the majority workers settle down into a particular job and occupation for a long time.

Labour supply increases through teenagers entering the workforce and migrants entering the workforce differ only in respect of the local taxpayer didn’t have to pay for their schooling.

labour

All through human history, the labour market has been able to cope with population increases with very little drama.

The large increase in female labour force participation since the mid-20th century was handled with ease despite the predictions of the odd, angry misogynist.

Indeed, is there any difference between the arguments against more immigration and the arguments in the mid-20th century against more married women working? Both are about taking jobs are of of existing workers, who will then be thrown on the scrapheap of society and never find another job.

This massive increase in female labour force participation is a good example of how labour force surges can be handled with ease by the labour market, be they domestic in origin or through immigration. The labour market was able to absorb millions of additional married women re-entering or staying on in the workforce to work full-time.

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Andrew Atkin
    Jan 01, 2015 @ 19:32:32

    Yes. The immigrants work, produce, and then consume. They are a stand-alone unit of production and consumption that interactively trades with the wider economy, and likewise there is no reason to believe they “take” the jobs they irrefutably also create!

    Like

    Reply

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