By late 2012, roughly 50 million native-born working-age Americans
weren’t working, up from 40 million in 2000, according to the March 13 report, titled “Still No Evidence of a Labor Shortage.”
The army of idle Americans is important for the immigration debate,
because advocates for greater immigration say foreign workers are needed
to fill slots that can’t be taken by Americans.
The 50 million idle Americans include many who are studying, have chosen not to work or have retired early.
But the government data shows that 16.7 million native-born Americans
wanted — but did not have — full-time work in 2013, up from 10.5
million in late 2007, and 7.8 million in 2000.
These unemployment and underemployment numbers include all
native-born Americans who sought work in the last few weeks, are working
part-time while seeking full-time jobs, and those who are “marginally
attached” to the workforce.
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