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June 06, 2007

What drew the immigrants here?

North Carolina has been a leading destination for immigrants, particularly from Mexico, in recent years. Economist Mike Walden explains why.

"It comes down to one word: jobs," says Dr. Walden, a professor of agricultural and resource economics at N.C. State University. "We see that the states where recent immigrants have settled in the U.S. are the states with the fastest job growth. And North Carolina has been one of them.

"And recent immigrants especially have taken jobs requiring lower skills or skills that can quickly be taught," he adds. "And this is really resulting from the fact that we have had a labor shortage for folks that typically take those lower paying, lower skilled jobs, usually young people.

"We have a labor shortage for two reasons: One, declining birth rates in this country. And, secondly, more people who are in that age bracket -- say 18 to 30 -- are going to college. So there has been a need to have new folks come in, and they have come in via the immigration route to take those entry level jobs.

"So you can really say ... simple economics is behind the new wave of immigration," he concludes.

Posted by deeshore at June 6, 2007 11:14 AM