Alabama’s construction industry is losing jobs faster than almost every state in the nation, and industry experts say some of the losses are due to the state’s strict new immigration law.
Figures from the Associated General Contractors, an Arlington, Va.-based trade group, showed that construction-related employment in Alabama has fallen from 85,900 in June, when the law was passed, to 80,700 in October.
Construction employment in the Birmingham-Hoover metro declined from 24,900 in June to 23,800 in October, according to AGC figures.
“Some of it has to do with the immigration law,” said Henry Hagood, head of Alabama AGC chapter. “Crews have left the state. That’s not the only reason for the numbers. Our market is down at the bottom. Every little thing, when you don’t have as much work, contributes to it.”
Alabama’s one-month loss of 3.2 percent, or 2,700 construction jobs from September to October, was the second highest nationally, surpassed only by Nevada’s 4.6 percent decline, according to AGC figures.
For the 12-month period ending in October, according to the trade group, Alabama lost 7 percent of its construction jobs, a steeper decline than all but three states — Georgia (9.5 percent), New Mexico (9.2 percent) and Wisconsin (8.6 percent).
John Wyatt, a vice president at Gary C. Wyatt General Contractor in Birmingham, said the immigration law has caused job shortages for construction companies across the state.
“There have been no-show employees in various trades from job sites since the immigration law has taken effect,” he said.
Correlation doesn’t imply causation.
If 1000 Walmart employees suddenly quit, Walmart doesn’t lose 1000 jobs, they have 1000 job openings. Logic would say that in a period of high unemployment in the construction industry there would be plenty of available workers to fill those positions.
But there is another issue here I want to talk about. We always hear that we need illegal immigrants because they take the shitty jobs nobody here will do. Now I don’t know about where you live, but around here construction is considered one of the better blue-collar jobs.
In fact, many of them are union jobs. That means that illegal immigrants are undercutting unions. Democrats are pro-union. Democrats are also pro-immigration. This does not compute. (Republicans oppose both, so at least they get points for consistency)
I know I am committing heresy for even trying to discuss this topic. Left-wing dogma is that illegal immigration is good and anyone who opposes it is a racist xenophobe.
Except I’m not some racist xenophobe. I’ve lived my whole life around immigrants. They are mostly good people. I don’t blame them for coming here because they can make a lot more money. They don’t come here for welfare, they come here to work.
But we need to take care of our own first. Right now the real unemployment rate in this country is about 20%. Add to that the number of people that are underemployed.
Illegal immigration is a complex issue. Before we can fix it, we need to be able to discuss it.