Immigration and the Labor Market

June 26, 2013

people walking down city street - blurThe New York Times, 6/25/2013

Are American workers are about to experience unwelcome new competition for their jobs? The bill moving through Congress to overhaul the nation’s immigration laws, if approved, would give employers access to expanded visa programs that would admit hundreds of thousands of immigrant workers, of both low and high skills, to toil in workplaces from strawberry fields to technology companies.

The legislation also offers legal status to millions of immigrants working illegally across the country, and ultimately a shot at citizenship. The change would encourage many to roam freely throughout the economy, leaving dead-end jobs in immigrant-heavy sectors of the labor market to seek higher pay elsewhere. But by many accounts, most American workers need not worry about the prospect of hordes of workers entering the country with an eye on their jobs. Rather, immigration is seen as more likely to leave American workers better off.

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Surviving with $15 pesos (Spanish)

February 22, 2013
Photo by Flickr User Global Tribe

Photo by Flickr User Global Tribe

La Jornada, 2/22/2013

Maria Martinez’s sunken eyes and wrinkled skin make her seem more than 50 years old.  In Mixtec, she explains that she does not remember when she was born;  meanwhile, the nurse revises her records  clarifies the doubt:  Maria is 35 years and the baby she carries in her arms  is her seventh child.

Like her, many families live with 10 or 15 pesos a day (one quarter of the minimum wage)with which they can only afford  pasta, beans and, if revenues improve, chicken or beef every 15 or 30 days. “A chicken costs 80 or 90 pesos, and I can’t afford it,” says Maria.

Even though 300 families receive some aid, malnutrition, remoteness, lack of education, and unemployment keep them in the geography of poverty.

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Mexico’s Coppel Brothers Emerge With $16 Billion Fortune

November 16, 2012

Bloomberg BusinessWeek, 11/15/2012


In 1970, Enrique Coppel Tamayo introduced a credit card that allowed his working-class customers to buy clothing and furniture at a handful of retail stores he owned in Culiacan, Mexico.

With Mexico’s economy rebounding from the 2009 recession, and unemployment declining, the country’s consumers have more cash to spend on household goods. Coppel’s department stores across the country give the poorer among them the chance to buy a sofa-bed or an iPhone in small payments over six to 18 months. The Coppel empire has expanded despite the surge in violence in their native state of Sinaloa, home to the cartel of Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, Mexico’s most-wanted druglord.

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For Peña Nieto the most important part of the US-Mexico Relationship is the Economy [in Spanish]

September 17, 2012

CNN, 9/17/12

Enrique Peña Nieto

For president-elect Enrique Peña Nieto, the most important part of the US-Mexico relationship is the economy, which is why he wants to concentrate on strengthening economic ties between the two nations.  Emilio Lozoya Austin, Peña Nieto’s coordinator for international affairs during the transition period,  said in an interview that they thought that the mutual strengthening of economies would help unemployment and consequently regulate migratory flows.  Lozoya Austin insisted that they wanted to move the relationship beyond security concerns and that, regarding security, the two nations needed to work together to help Central America.Read More…

Mexico’s December Unemployment 4.5% Vs 4.9% Year Ago

January 19, 2012

The Wall Street Journal, 1/19/12

Unemployment in Mexico fell in December from a year earlier, and was also down from November in seasonally adjusted terms, the National Statistics Institute, or Inegi, said Thursday.

Inegi said 4.5% of the workforce was unemployed last month, compared with 4.9% in December of 2010. Unemployment in major urban areas also fell from a year earlier, at just under 4.9% in December compared with 5.8% in December 2010. Underemployment, which gauges those who had insufficient work, rose to 8.2% from 6.8% a year earlier.

Employment in Mexico increased in 2011 as the economy grew for a second consecutive year following the 2008-2009 recession. The economy is expected to have expanded by about 4% in 2011, down from 5.4% in 2010.

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Mexico’s July Unemployment 5.6% Vs 5.7% Year Ago

August 25, 2011

The Wall Street Journal, 8/25/11

Mexico’s unemployment fell in July from a year earlier and was also down from June in seasonally adjusted terms, the National Statistics Institute, or Inegi, said Thursday.

Inegi said unemployment was 5.6% last month, compared with 5.7% in July 2010.

The jobless rate tends to increase in July as students seek work for the vacations or after finishing school. Adjusted for seasonal effects, unemployment fell to 5.3% from 5.8% in June.

Unemployment in major urban areas was 6.7% compared with 6.9% a year earlier, and was down from June in seasonally adjusted terms, while underemployment rose to 8.9% of those in work from 8.5% a year ago, Inegi said.

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To view the INEGI data, click here.


Mexico: 382,000 formal jobs created this year

May 4, 2010

Bloomberg Business Week, 5/4/2010

Mexican President Felipe Calderon says 382,000 jobs have been created in Mexico’s formal economy so far this year. He says job growth shows Mexico is on the path of economic recovery.

Labor Secretary Javier Lozano Alarcon said Tuesday that unemployment has been steadily decreasing since peaking at 6.4 percent in September. The jobless rate was 4.8 percent in March and 5.4 percent in February. April’s rate has not been released.

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Editorial: Mexico is facing six wars, not just one

March 28, 2010

Andres Oppenheimer, Miami Herald, 3/28/2010

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s trip to Mexico last week drew a lot of media attention to the bloody U.S.-backed war on the drug cartels along the border. But Mexico is facing five other wars that nobody is talking about, and that may pose even bigger threats than the drug lords.

But I wouldn’t be surprised if closer U.S.-Mexico security ties, likely to be announced during Mexican President Felipe Calderón’s visit to the White House on May 19, will eventually drive the drug lords underground, or to move to the next country. It happened in Colombia, and it may happen in Mexico.

Instead, a paper written by former U.S. Department of Defense Latin America chief Roger Pardo Maurer, whose first draft was published by The Small Wars Journal, leads me to wonder about the other five critical challenges that Mexico is facing, unbeknown to much of the rest of the world.

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Money Trickles North as Mexicans Help Relatives

November 15, 2009

pesosThe New York Times, 11/15/09

During the best of the times, Miguel Salcedo’s son, an illegal immigrant in San Diego, would be sending home hundreds of dollars a month to support his struggling family in Mexico. But at times like these, with the American economy out of whack and his son out of work, Mr. Salcedo finds himself doing what he never imagined he would have to do: wiring pesos north.

Unemployment has hit migrant communities in the United States so hard that a startling new phenomenon has been detected: instead of receiving remittances from relatives in the richest country on earth, some down-and-out Mexican families are scraping together what they can to support their unemployed loved ones in the United States.

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Unemployment Rate Hits 14-yr High in Sept

October 22, 2009

Mexico cityReuters, 10/22/09

MEXICO CITY, Oct 21 (Reuters) – Mexico’s unemployment rate rose to its highest in 14 years in September as a crippling recession ravaged the country’s export sector, the national statistics agency said on Wednesday.

The jobless rate rose to a higher-than-expected 6.41 percent in the month from 6.28 percent in August, the national statistics agency said.

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