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Press Release

Cleveland Fed researcher finds labor-market skills of foreign-born workers have improved

Various measures of the labor-market skills of foreign-born workers in the US have improved during the past decade, finds Cleveland Fed researcher Rubén Hernández-Murillo.

The largest gains appear to be concentrated in the immigrant population from Mexico. The reason for this improvement, however, seems to be associated with a dramatic decline in the flow of immigrants from Mexico during the past decade.

Hernández-Murillo says that the decline in immigration from Mexico appears to have been a response primarily to two factors: “A decline in US demand for Mexican workers following the Great Recession and the increase in border enforcement during the past two decades.”

An improvement in basic measures of labor-market skills is of considerable importance because such skills facilitate the assimilation of foreign-born workers into the US workforce, especially as aging or retiring native-born workers continue to exit the workforce.

Read more: The Labor-Market Skills of Foreign-born Workers in the United States, 2007–2017

Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland

The Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland is one of 12 regional Reserve Banks that along with the Board of Governors in Washington DC comprise the Federal Reserve System. Part of the US central bank, the Cleveland Fed participates in the formulation of our nation’s monetary policy, supervises banking organizations, provides payment and other services to financial institutions and to the US Treasury, and performs many activities that support Federal Reserve operations System-wide. In addition, the Bank supports the well-being of communities across the Fourth Federal Reserve District through a wide array of research, outreach, and educational activities.

The Cleveland Fed, with branches in Cincinnati and Pittsburgh, serves an area that comprises Ohio, western Pennsylvania, eastern Kentucky, and the northern panhandle of West Virginia.

Media contact

Doug Campbell,, 513.455.4479