Saturday, May 24, 2008

Last in, first out

Chris makes a very interesting argument:

Migrant workers have accounted for a disproportionate proportion… of the rise in employment since 1997. … And as the economy cools and jobs are destroyed, it's these jobs that'll go. This is partly because newly-created jobs tend to be more unstable and prone to destruction than older ones, and partly because migrants have filled jobs in cyclical sectors that are most vulnerable to a downturn…
So, the coming downturn could look different from its predecessors. It'll take the form not so much of voters (and their friends and neighbours) losing their jobs - though this'll happen to some extent - but of Poles going home.

We (that slippery pundit’s word) no longer favour a managed economy, but still hanker for something called ‘managed immigration’. Well, a freer and more globalised market means freer international labour mobility; the invisible hand beckons the Polish builders in and then it ushers them out again.

If Chris is right, it also means that such a loss of jobs won’t have as bad an effect on the public finances as a slowdown in which the people who become unemployed all then go onto Jobseekers Allowance.

Furthermore, to the extent that migrant workers send remittances home rather than spending their earnings here, their absence (and that of their jobs) would have less of a knock-on effect on the rest of the economy.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

As Vicky Pollard might say,

No but yea but no.

In a word, 'Welfare' will be the fly in the ointment.