Published on People Move

Turnaround in migrant employment in the US?

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We had suggested earlier the bottoming out of remittances to Latin America in response to stabilizing construction activity in the US. The latest employment numbers for June 2009 from the Current Population Survey (CPS) hint at a turnaround in employment levels in the US, particularly for migrants. 

 *3 month moving averages           Source: Current Population Survey


The sectoral breakdown of employment data show that employment in the construction sector is picking up faster than other major occupations. Employment in other major occupations also seems to be stabilizing. 

 *3 month moving averages           Source: Current Population Survey

This turnaround in employment has significant consequences for remittance flows from the US, which is the largest destination of migrants from developing countries. The US was also the largest sender of remittance and sent an estimated $47 billion in 2008.

These employment numbers are also consistent with the latest US unemployment rate of 9.4% for July 2009. The unemployment rate is also based on CPS, which is an estimate of the labor force characteristics of the US population based on a monthly survey of about 50,000 households. The CPS also does not ask about the legal status of respondents.


Ani Silwal

Economist in the World Bank’s Poverty and Equity Global Practice

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