Unemployment High in Colorado Yet Senator Bennet Works to Increase Immigration

Mar 21, 2013, 05:00 ET from Center for Immigration Studies

WASHINGTON, March 21, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A new analysis from the Center for Immigration Studies finds a bleak unemployment picture in Colorado. Yet Senator Michael Bennet (D-CO) would like to increase competition for jobs in the state.

(Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20120806/MM52838LOGO)

As a member of the Gang of Eight, Sen. Bennet is a leader in the effort to legalize illegal immigrants, rather than encouraging them to return home. The gang's stated principles also call for increases in legal immigration. As part the gang's efforts, labor and business leaders are negotiating for a new program to bring in more foreign workers to fill "lesser-skilled" jobs. But government employment data shows that unemployment and non-work are extremely high for American citizens in Colorado and the nation, particularly for less-educated citizens (those with no more than a high school education), who are the most likely to compete with illegal immigrants for jobs.

"There is a huge pool of potential workers in Colorado, especially to fill jobs that require modest levels of education. If employers really are having trouble finding workers, then offering higher wages and better working conditions would seem to make a good deal of sense. This could make a real difference in the lives of Americans who generally earn the lowest wages and have the highest unemployment," commented the report's lead author Dr. Steven Camarota, Director of Research.

The report can be found at: http://cis.org/bleak-unemployment-picture-in-gang-of-eight-states

Among the report's findings:

  • The standard unemployment rate for less-educated U.S. citizens in Colorado was 11.8% in 2012, making it the 16th worst state in country. The unemployment rate only includes those who have looked for jobs in the last four weeks.
  • The broader measure of unemployment (referred to as U-6), which includes those who want to work, but have not looked recently, shows an unemployment rate of 20.1% for less-educated citizens in Colorado — 19th worst in the country.
  • In 2012, 36.6% of less-educated citizens (ages 18 to 65) were not working in Colorado. This includes the unemployed and those entirely out of the labor force.
  • The 36.6% figure represents a dramatic deterioration in recent years. As recently as 2007, 26.6% of less-educated citizens (18 to 65) were not working.
  • There were a total of 329,000 less-educated citizens (18 to 65) in the state not working in 2012.
  • Looking at all citizens of every education level in Colorado, there were 803,000 U.S. citizens (18 to 65) not working.
  • Although Sen. Bennet and other members of the Gang of Eight seem to believe there is shortage of workers to fill jobs that require a modest level of education, the employment data collected by the government does not support this conclusion.


Data. The data for this analysis comes from the monthly public-use files of the Current Population Surveys (CPS) for 2000, 2007, and 2012. Each year represent 12 months of data averaged together. By averaging 12 months together and creating yearly estimates it is possible to create a statistically robust figure at the state level. The Bureau of Labor Statistics uses the same approach for creating state estimates. All CPS respondents are asked their citizenship so it is a straightforward matter to estimate employment statistics for American citizens (both native-born and naturalized).

Defining Unemployment. The standard measure of unemployment, referred to as U-3, takes the number of people who report that they are not working and have looked for a job in the last four weeks and divides it by the number actually working plus those looking for work. The broader measure of unemployment, referred to as U-6, includes those who are involuntary part-time (i.e., would prefer a full-time job but can't find one), and others who indicate that they want and are available for jobs, and they have looked for work in the past 12 months. They are not part of U-3 unemployment because they have not looked for a job in the prior four weeks.

The Center for Immigration Studies is an independent, non-partisan, non-profit, research organization. Since its founding in 1985, the Center has pursued a single mission – providing immigration policymakers, the academic community, news media, and concerned citizens with reliable information about the social, economic, environmental, security, and fiscal consequences of legal and illegal immigration into the United States.

Marguerite Telford
(202) 466-8185

SOURCE Center for Immigration Studies