The size of the undocumented workforce is shrinking in the US

A shrinking force.
A shrinking force.
Image: Reuters/Gus Ruelas
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US immigration hawks have long complained that undocumented workers take Americans’ jobs and lower wages.

Some good news for them: the size of the undocumented labor force is shrinking, according to a new report by the Pew Research Center. From 2007 to 2017, the number of undocumented workers dropped 7.6 million from 8.2 million.

So, immigrants now make a smaller share of the US workforce.

It’s yet another sign of how immigration to the US is changing. There are fewer people coming overall. Employers have already started to feel the drop.

There is some evidence that undocumented workers slightly lower the wages of certain unskilled workers, but their effect on the overall economy is relatively minor, according to a study commissioned by the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Science.

Meanwhile, the lower numbers mean employers from Chicago to California are having trouble finding workers.

For them, the latest Pew figures are bad news.