A strengthening U.S. economy has spurred the largest pickup in immigration since before the recession, driven by Asian newcomers and a gain in Hispanic arrivals.
The number of foreign-born people in the U.S. grew by 523,400 last year, according to the Census Bureau. That beat the previous year’s net gain of roughly 446,800 and is the biggest official jump since 2006. The numbers don’t distinguish between authorized and unauthorized immigrants.
Asian immigrants, including Chinese students and highly skilled workers from India, fueled many of the gains.
Demand among U.S. employers for visas for skilled foreign workers—the so-called H-1B visas dominated by Indian workers—has rebounded. Businesses reached the federal cap on applications in less than a week this year; in 2012, it took three months, and in 2011, eight months, to fill all the slots.
Meanwhile, Hispanic immigration is picking up, after slowing to a trickle in recent years as weak job and home-construction markets prompted many workers—often less-educated and in the U.S. illegally—to return home.
Approximately 27% of last year’s new immigrants were Hispanic, compared with about 10% in 2012 and less than 1% in 2011, census figures show. More Mexicans came to the U.S. last year than left—a notable shift after several years in which the opposite happened.
With construction work perking up, Texas has seen a rise in Hispanic immigrants, said Cristina Tzintzún, executive director of the Workers Defense Project, a Austin group that trains and advocates for low-wage workers.
Annual growth in the U.S. foreign-born population remains lower than the 800,000 or so average of a decade ago. Tighter borders, along with declining fertility and increased economic opportunities in Mexico, make it unlikely Hispanic immigration will surge the way it did in the 1990s—leaving Asians the dominant force.
But the census data show that six years after the recession began, America is restoring its reputation as an economic beacon among immigrants, even as other nations, including in Asia, become more attractive. If demand for high-skilled workers grows and Hispanic immigration revives, that could also mean U.S. businesses are feeling more bullish about the economy’s prospects.
America’s Mexico-born population marks the biggest wave of immigration from a single country in U.S. history, but the recession helped bring that to a halt. Now there are signs of a shift: The Mexico-born population grew by nearly 22,000 last year, on net, after shrinking about 109,000 in 2012 as more Mexicans left the U.S. than came, Mr. Frey said.
Another sign of the stronger U.S. economy: Money sent by Mexicans abroad to individuals back home has bounced back. More than $2 billion in such remittances flowed into Mexico in August, the vast majority from the U.S., up from $1.9 billion a year earlier and $1.3 billion in January 2010, figures from Mexico’s central bank show.
Pew estimates there were 11.3 million unauthorized immigrants living in the U.S. as of March 2013, compared to 11.2 million in 2012, an increase that isn’t statistically significant.
Source: Wall Street Journal
Two closely linked economies but two very different recoveries: that’s what you get when you compare Canada’s performance with that of the U.S. over the past few years.
According to Douglas Porter, chief economist at BMO Capital Markets, the most notable difference between the US and Canada is the widely diverging performance of the two job markets since the financial crisis erupted seven years ago.
In the 2007-to-2011 period, Canada fared a lot better than the U.S. when it came to job growth. However since 2013, it’s the U.S. that has churned out better numbers. To understand the difference, it helps to look back at the years since the recession began. Canadian government country reacted quickly to the recession with massive stimulus programs to support employment. By contrast, the U.S. state and local governments had to run highly austere policies that weakened the recovery south of the border.
Fiscal policy wasn’t the only difference. The housing market in this country was hit much less hard than in the U.S. and rebounded faster from the recession. The banking sector was in much better shape on this side of the border, maintaining its level of mortgage lending while borrowers responded enthusiastically to rock-bottom interest rates.
In the U.S., by comparison, housing took the brunt of the recession’s blow, falling steadily through the 2007-to-2011 period amid tight lending conditions that kept buyers away. Canadian auto sales returned to normal soon after the recession ended whereas U.S. auto sales are only now returning to pre-recession levels.
Taken together, the housing, consumer spending and government sectors tend to be rich in jobs and light on productivity. So when they started to improve, employment spiked up in all three. Today, the picture looks a little different as Canada now lags the job creation pace of the U.S. One reason is that this country has come to rely much more on exports to fuel its recovery.
The export sector is often tied to investments in equipment and manufacturing, which tend to improve productivity and lower job creation. So, while we’ve had respectable economic growth, the job numbers lately have been disappointing.
The result has been solid employment gains without particularly strong growth in GDP so far. The best for the U.S. could be yet to come as it catches up. The U.S. will be playing catch-up on economic growth for a while and should see much firmer employment and probably better GDP growth.
The Federal Reserve is likely to begin raising U.S. interest rates next year, at least three months before Canada does. That should lead to a stronger U.S. dollar and softer Canadian dollar.
As for stocks, improving productivity and earnings, combined with a delay in Bank of Canada tightening, should help the TSX holds its ground. But the recent run of outperformance will be hard to sustain if the U.S. economy outpaces Canada’s.
Once again the two economies are likely to follow different tracks as the recovery unfolds.
Source: Montreal Gazette
OTTAWA – A new agreement has been signed between the United States and Canada which will allow biometric information about Canadian visa applicants to be shared with third countries.
This means the fingerprints and photo of someone who may visit, study or work in Canada could be passed to Washington, from where it might be shared with another country to help verify the person’s identity. Concerns have been raised by the federal privacy commissioner’s office that such personal information provided by Canada could end up in countries that have a poor human rights record, possibly endangering the applicant or their family.
At a ceremony to sign the information-sharing agreement, Immigration Minister Jason Kenney and U.S. ambassador David Jacobson stressed that the information would be handled with due regard for privacy. The initiative, affecting nationals of 29 visa seeking countries, is part of a perimeter security deal reached in 2013 between Canada and the United States.