Thursday, November 19, 2009

Great Recession Geography: US Immigration

Migration can be both a lagging and leading economic indicator. A lagging example is the continued arrival of newcomers to recession ravaged cities such as Charlotte (NC) and Portland (OR). International migration tends to be more sensitive to shifting fortunes with the most geographically mobile riding the bow wave:

USAToday reports that more Americans are seeking work abroad than in the past. Although “the trend reverses a longtime pattern of far more foreign workers seeking jobs in the U.S.” sounds like an overstatement, there are signs that Americans are more willing to consider working abroad. The country’s largest staffing company, Manpower, says it has 500 clients seeking overseas work, compared a few dozen six months ago. And a recent survey of executives in the U.S. revealed that 54 percent would be likely to take a job in another country, compared to 37 percent in 2005. The top prospects? India, China, Brazil, Dubai, and Singapore.

That trend stood out to me as indicative of a globalization reset, but the entire Brookings narrative seems to be pushing the same conclusion. I doubt the abatement of the usual immigration patterns will last. I expect the expatriate community to continue to grow.

The best talent will be attracted to the core of globalization, which is shifting from the United States to the countries listed above. Concern about brain drain from America would be novel. This might further exacerbate the populist mood swing and result in a larger drag on what is sure to be slow growth. The impressive domestic geographic mobility will be increasingly global.

1 comment:

Mark Arsenal said...

Of course, what would be cool would be if the populist hand-wringing would result in a more pro-jobs stimulus.

Alas, it would probably be coupled with an anti-immigrant rider...