The Effects of Temporary Immigrant Labor

Katelyn Rowley, Illinois Wesleyan University
Michael Seeborg, Faculty Advisor, Illinois Wesleyan University

Description

An important recent labor market trend is the rapid increase in the number of immigrants employed in the information technology sector who have temporary worker status. Economic theory suggests that temporary immigrant workers will be affected more adversely than native workers during a recession. This study uses OLS regression models to predict both wages and employment levels (through usual hours worked) in IT occupations as a function of immigration status, education level, age, gender, the recession and a set of interactive terms. The results from this study unexpectedly show that in the IT sector, employment of native workers fell during the recession while the employment of temporary immigrant workers rose. Also surprising is that wages of temporary immigrant workers in the IT sector do not appear to be significantly different from wages of natives in that sector even during the recession. This suggests that employers retained temporary workers and even added to their employment to maximize productivity and fill a skills gap in the IT sector, rather than realize alternative benefits of retaining native workers in long term positions.

 
Apr 20th, 10:00 AM Apr 20th, 11:00 AM

The Effects of Temporary Immigrant Labor

Room C102, Center for Natural Sciences, Illinois Wesleyan University

An important recent labor market trend is the rapid increase in the number of immigrants employed in the information technology sector who have temporary worker status. Economic theory suggests that temporary immigrant workers will be affected more adversely than native workers during a recession. This study uses OLS regression models to predict both wages and employment levels (through usual hours worked) in IT occupations as a function of immigration status, education level, age, gender, the recession and a set of interactive terms. The results from this study unexpectedly show that in the IT sector, employment of native workers fell during the recession while the employment of temporary immigrant workers rose. Also surprising is that wages of temporary immigrant workers in the IT sector do not appear to be significantly different from wages of natives in that sector even during the recession. This suggests that employers retained temporary workers and even added to their employment to maximize productivity and fill a skills gap in the IT sector, rather than realize alternative benefits of retaining native workers in long term positions.