Southern border figures follow the labor market: study

According to an American newspaper, migration flows to the United States go up and down, parallel to the tightness on the labor marketanalysis of economic data and data on border encountersfrom the Center for Global Development.

According to the study, there is a strong correlation between the number of jobs available per unemployed person – market tightness – and border conflicts, as reported by Customs and Border Protection (CBP), leading to the conclusion that “pull factors, represented by the tightness of labor market, the U.S. labor market, is a key determinant of the number of border crossings at the U.S. southwest border.”

That conclusion runs counter to a national political narrative that has increasingly focused on reducing migration through aggressive enforcement at the U.S.-Mexico border.

“I'll say two things: first, no one ever talks about pull factors, and look at this amazing correlation that has lasted for 25 years,” says Dany Bahar, the economist who wrote the article.

Bahar added that 2 million people a year choose to migrate to the Western Hemisphere, a record number.

'And there's really nothing that has happened in the hemisphere of an order of magnitude that can explain that. I mean, the only thing that's gone crazy is the job market in the US.”

While Latin America has undergone political changes since the pandemic, the region has not seen a violent transition of power or a generational economic crisis – events that traditionally led to greater emigration.

Certain countries such as Venezuela, Cuba and Haiti, all of which are major contributors to migration, have experienced continued economic woes, but for the most part the region has returned to pre-existing unemployment and GDP per capita, according to the report. the pandemic.

“To be clear, I am not denying the fact that push factors exist and that they are important determinants of current flows. For example, the political and humanitarian crisis in Venezuela continues and is not expected to be resolved soon, especially since Nicolás Maduro is expected to remain in power even after the non-free and fair elections in 2024,” Bahar wrote in the newspaper.

“With this in mind, it can be expected that more Venezuelans will flee the country.”

Still, the report's analysis shows a long-term trend, and not necessarily a correlation that emerged in the wake of the pandemic.

According to Bahar, the correlation has persisted over the past quarter century regardless of which party was in power in the United States, but has become even more noticeable since the pandemic.

“Of course the correlation has been stronger in recent years in the early years, but still present. That's part of what I'm showing with the different presidents – it's there, it doesn't matter who was president – ​​because I also wanted to show the political parties. So the correlation is still there all these years, quite robust, but I think you can really see it visually, at least after 2018, that was striking,” Bahar said.

Before 2018, going back to 2014, there was an exceptional gap between labor market tightness and border conflicts.

“I looked at that in more detail because during the Trump years, whatever he did, [there were] Less crossings overall,” Bahar said.

“Even within those years, there's still kind of a positive slope between migration and labor market tightness, you know what I mean? Yes, that relationship is still there, even though the whole thing failed.

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