Wall Street Journal on the economic value of low-skill migrants

Like the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal has worked tirelessly to spread the Good News about the Miracle of Low-Skill Migration. An example from 2015… “Migrants Offer Hope for Aging German Workforce”:

By some estimates, Britain is on course to eclipse Germany as Europe’s biggest economy by 2030, thanks in part to its large numbers of young, energetic immigrants.

Germany “is going to be severely challenged” by demographics, said Peter Sutherland, the United Nations special representative for international migration. Managing the trends “requires a great deal of proactive thinking” and openness to immigration, he said.

About 20% of asylum seekers were from war-torn Syria—more than from any other country—and four out of five arriving Syrians are believed to be from “average or even well-off economic circumstances and have a good education,” the agency said.

In the 1950s, Italians and other Southern Europeans flooded in to help rebuild the country, contributing significantly to its fast postwar economic recovery. In the following decades, millions of Turks arrived and many ended up working in German industrial companies, helping its economy more.

This summer, however, the same newspaper informs us that the countries that have been getting rich via low-skill immigration every year since 1950 are now, in fact, poor. “Europeans Are Becoming Poorer. ‘Yes, We’re All Worse Off.’”:

Europe’s current predicament has been long in the making. An aging population with a preference for free time and job security over earnings ushered in years of lackluster economic and productivity growth.

Adjusted for inflation and purchasing power, wages have declined by about 3% since 2019 in Germany, by 3.5% in Italy and Spain and by 6% in Greece.

Karim Bouazza, a 33-year-old nurse [in Brussels] who was stocking up on half-price meat and fish for his wife and two children, complained that inflation means “you almost need to work a second job to pay for everything.”

The eurozone economy grew about 6% over the past 15 years, measured in dollars, compared with 82% for the U.S., according to International Monetary Fund data. That has left the average EU country poorer per head than every U.S. state except Idaho and Mississippi, according to a report this month by the European Centre for International Political Economy, a Brussels-based independent think tank. If the current trend continues, by 2035 the gap between economic output per capita in the U.S. and EU will be as large as that between Japan and Ecuador today, the report said.

Apparently, expert consensus is that there is no longer a connection between low-skill migration and economic vibrancy. The 2023 WSJ article does not contain any of the following words or phrases: “migrant”; “immigrant”; “refugee”; “asylum-seeker”.

Separately, here’s a luxury car in one of Europe’s richest countries, the Netherlands (photographed in Delft, July 6, 2023):

The Netherlands now contains 27 percent migrants and children of migrants and thus should be insanely rich if we believe the Wall Street Journal’s 2015 Science.

21 thoughts on “Wall Street Journal on the economic value of low-skill migrants

  1. WSJ was hopeful for European immigrants in 2015 article “Migrants Offer Hope for Aging German Workforce” but their hope did not age well, based on its 2023 article “Europeans Are Becoming Poorer. ‘Yes, We’re All Worse Off.’”
    I think that Americans who stack in the same (non-government) position for 30 years are too not getting richer in inflation – adjusted dollars. The point is that Americans expect to change jobs and get (marginally) better off, while, as it seems from afar, Europeans are bent on keeping same job for their entire career, without strong trade unions re-negotiating perks every few years.

  2. The “young, energetic immigrants” are all unemployed:


    This website, despite its somewhat strange appearance, is run by completely mainstream, progressive organizations and is sponsored by the EU! For example, “Deutsche Welle” could be compared to NPR:

    InfoMigrants is a collaboration led by three major European media sources: France Médias Monde (France 24, Radio France Internationale, Monte Carlo Doualiya), the German public broadcaster Deutsche Welle, and the Italian press agency ANSA. InfoMigrants is co-financed by the European Union.

    • Thanks for this article. The noble migrants are “forced to rely on state welfare to survive”. That’s an interesting turn of phrase. Kind of like saying that a successful alimony or child support plaintiff here in the U.S. who chooses to relax at home (rather than suffer the indignity of work at unfair wages) is “forced to rely on family court profits to survive.”

      The definition of success is also fascinating: “Only about 37% of migrants from Somalia and 44% of Afghans are on welfare”.

  3. Luxury car really? My Niro is way better and hybrid, transition to the future. EVs cannot cross the Us$A; mine can. Immigrants are helping Canada and even somewhat the US&A. But in Mexico,;Hondurans, Haitians, Colombians and Venezuelans are real trouble. The Central Americans are competing for “limosna” (handouts), with Mexican children who should be in school not on the street begging.

    • > Immigrants are helping Canada

      Helping how, exactly? A Canadian family with 2 children must earn ~$110k to be net contributors. Statistics Canada says after 10 years, ~20% of immigrants earn that much (not even counting their larger family size, where every child costs $15k/yr in school fees alone). Further, StatsCans says every 10% growth in population from immigration lowers wages 7%. By that metric, Canadian’s real wages have fallen ~20% in the last 25 years due to immigration.

      sources: http://archive.is/wip/NhrxJ http://archive.is/wip/ppAhf

    • I don’t have the numbers but Canada has more percentage of immigrants than the
      US$A. I just read this. They need population. Mexico doesn’t. Mexico needs medical specialists and computer programmers who know Localization L10N.
      Most , if not all good programmers flee Mexico, including my daughter, who is Texan of Mexican, Scottish, British, Jewish, Spanish and even American, ancestry.

    • Canada needs a larger population? You came up with this idea after sitting in a multi-hour traffic jam in Vancouver or Toronto? You’re not putting any age, skill, or health boundaries around this? Today’s Canadians will be better off if 10 million 70-year-olds are brought in? That would give Canada a larger population, which they “need”. How would the 10 million 70-year-old new Canadians make today’s Toronto resident better off? (Perhaps the answer is that this Toronto resident owns a senior citizen apartment building!)

      [Keep in mind that the primary method of migration these days is via asylum. Countries that agree to provide asylum do so without regard to migrants’ ages, skills, health, etc., and, I think, without any limit on the number that can migrate. Canada cannot deport someone who is entitled to asylum, e.g., someone who says that he/she/ze/they fears violence back home.]

      Note that by at least one measure Vancouver has worse traffic than NYC and is closing in on Mexico City: https://dailyhive.com/vancouver/metro-vancouver-traffic-second-worst-north-america

    • Ed, why do you feel that you know better than the residents of other countries what “they need”? And further, why, upon realizing that the WEF / Legacy Media position is bad for YOUR area, do you immediately pivot to “it’s bad for me, but it must be REALLY GREAT FOR *THEM*?”

      What exactly was so awful about the Canada that was populated by Canadians in the SCTV / Wayne Gretzky era that a massive flood of culturally incompatible people is supposed to improve? And why do you presume to make it YOUR decision, rather than a decision made by actual Canadians?

      Japan is facing a demographic decline, but they seem to be OK with being a somewhat less populated version of Japan. And perhaps with fewer people chasing the same resources, their fertility will rise again and self-correct to some degree: at least they’re giving themselves the OPPORTUNITY for that to happen.

  4. Maybe it was always this way, I don’t know, but the WSJ seems to have gone way downhill. Off the editorial page you seem to have the same talent as the NYT or the WaPo with degrees in communications lecturing about all kinds of nonsense and lots of human interest stories and how to do things better, like prepare a glass of water. The business stuff is often incoherent, as if the people who wrote and edited the piece didn’t understand the subject matter. Investigative journalism is limited to teens who because of excessive I Phone use have developed skin conditions. And then there is the editorial page overpopulated by geezers whose day in the sun was 40 years ago and wax nostalgic about playing croquette at Kennebunkport with “Poppy” Bush, Babs’s recipe for a killer gin and tonic or Ron’s favorite horse. Presumably they are trying to appeal to the demographics of their readers, but it is hard to imagine that the WSJ and the rest of legacy media will be around ten years from now.

  5. Further guidance on what to expect in (formerly) “first world” countries may be found here.

  6. Canada is poorly unpopulated. I am aware that not all immigrants are useful. Mexico is having a horrible problem and feeding immigrants from much poorer countries. I love Canada and I have visited many times but even Justin is welcoming immigrants from all over the world. They may not be an immediate solution but most advanced countries need population. Even China is constricting reproduction, still girls likely.

  7. Back in 1967, I visited Canada for the first time for the Montreal Expo. I love this wonderful well liked country. In the early 80s I visited Europe and I noticed a LOT of young dudes with backpacks with the Canadian flag. I learned that they were mostly Americans, guess why the Canadian flag? BTW. I am Mexicant Americant I can misspell about both.

  8. Back in the late 70s. I was temporarily living on a trailer owned by my father near Cunduacan Tabasco. A dusty, very hot place. Luckily I owned a Jeep Willys (1961) no A/C. Anyway an American from a Louisiana company came to help us with a polymer-based mud-drilling lubricant in a Pemex oil drill that where my dad tried to sell, the product. The American asked me on Friday to take him to the capital Villahermosa for a drink, he pronounced it weirdly. I did, and, while we walking the streets we heard American rock music and saw a couple of Americans. He told me: we Americans are hated in many countries but they sure like our music. Also, I can tell these guys are Americans because of their ugly clothes. He was wearing shiny elegant shoes and fancy trousers, while I was wearing mud covered boots.

  9. The problem is not the population but their location. Most Canadians live close to the US$A not in Manitoba.

  10. Mexico has evolved a lot. From a macho country to feminist (most of government in the cabinet are women and some 12 state governors). The most popular candidate to be elected president is likely Claudia Sheinbaum, of Jewish European origin, formerly head of government in Mexico City. Also, the equivalent to minister of the interior is Luis Maria Alcalde. If something bad happens to the president, she would legally assume the presidency. She is in her 30s and is not bad looking.

    • Is that a good thing? Germany went through this and has (as the WSJ articles point out) deteriorated in the past two decades.

    • To clarify: I meant the feminist part, not the Jewish part. Netanyahu would be an ideal German chancellor as he understands many of the issues that Europe is facing.

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