Study shows economic pain if immigration rules implemented

[Coalition for a Working Oregon Press Release]

Federal “No Match” Rule could disrupt the Oregon economy and eliminate jobs within the state’s most critical industries

CORVALLIS, OREGON — The Coalition for a Working Oregon (CWO) released a study today that predicts significant reductions in economic output and job loss in the state if the federal “No Match” rule is implemented. The study, conducted by William Jaeger, Ph. D., Professor in the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics at Oregon State University, is entitled Potential Economic Impacts in Oregon of Implementing Proposed Department of Homeland Security “No Match” Immigration Rules. The report details possible economic consequences in Oregon of the proposed “No Match” rule, a federal regulation designed to identify and eliminate undocumented workers in the U.S. workforce.

“The potential ramifications for Oregon’s economy are significant and could cause a loss of 173,500 jobs in the short-term, or 7.7% of Oregon’s workforce along with a reduction in statewide annual production of up to $17.7 billion,” said Dr. Jaeger.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) “No Match” rule requires businesses to terminate any worker whose social security number cannot be verified by the Social Security Administration. The Rule is currently under appeal and could go into effect after the court process is completed. If implemented, the law would eliminate roughly 100,000 workers from the Oregon economy.

Dr. Jaeger went on to note that the negative effects of the rule would be felt in the years to come. “In the long-term, the study suggests that we could be looking at a loss of 147,000 jobs, an annual reduction in state output of up to 14.7 billion, a tax loss of $656 million and an overall economic loss of $7.2 billion.”

An enforcement-only approach such as the “No Match” rule is particularly damaging to Oregon’s labor-dependent industries because it provides no mechanism to replace workers removed from the system. The study reported that immigrant labor comprises 4.3 percent of Oregon’s total workforce or roughly 100,000 workers. The percentages are much higher in the state’s hospitality, agriculture and construction industries.

“This study illustrates what addressing part of the problem will get you,” said Jeff Stone of the Oregon Association of Nurseries and a member of the CWO. “If you eliminate undocumented workers without giving employers some way to replace them, our businesses and economy will suffer. Enforcement is a critical part of reform, but enforcement alone is not a solution.”

The study also concludes that eliminating undocumented workers cannot be expected to reduce the number of unemployed Oregonians. “The theory that the unemployment rate will drop with elimination of undocumented workers doesn’t hold up,” said Dr. Jaeger. “In fact, my analysis shows that due to the indirect effects on Oregon’s economy, the number of jobs could actually decline in the short-term by 7.7 percent if this rule were implemented, which would include a loss of up to 76,000 jobs by legal domestic workers.”

Jon Chandler with the 5,200-member Oregon Home Builders Association stated, “Employers want to hire legal workers. We as employers should do our part to help enforce our nation’s immigration laws, and those who willfully violate the law ought to be punished. That said, we need a complete solution which ensures that we have access to an adequate workforce.”

“Our immigration system is broken,” said Bill Perry with the Oregon Restaurant Association, “And the only way to fix it is for the federal government to pass comprehensive reform. Partial solutions like “No Match,” or a patchwork of state or local regulations, will only delay meaningful reform.”

The Coalition for a Working Oregon, an organization consisting of 20 of Oregon’s leading business associations, advocates for sensible, comprehensive reform of the current federal immigration system, supporting employee verification along with a mechanism for employers to access an adequate workforce, enhanced border security, and a system for effective enforcement of immigration laws.

CWO plans to use the data found in the study to build widespread support for comprehensive reform. Educational initiatives, including community forums, are being planned to discuss the findings and educate the public and elected officials about this complex issue.

The study relies on data from numerous state and national sources including the Oregon Employment Department, economic research and computer models, and existing studies from institutions like the Oregon Center for Public Policy and Pew Hispanic Center. For more information, or to download a complete copy of the report, visit


About Coalition for a Working Oregon

Coalition for a Working Oregon (CWO) is a 501(c)6 non-profit organization dedicated to promoting sensible and thoughtful comprehensive immigration reform at the federal level. The CWO is comprised of 20 Oregon employer groups who represent over 300,000 Oregon workers. For more information on CWO, please visit or call (503) 796-3013.

About the Oregon Association of Nurseries

The Oregon Association of Nurseries, based in Wilsonville, represents more than 1,500 wholesale growers, retailers, landscapers and suppliers. Oregon’s ornamental horticulture industry is the state’s largest agricultural commodity, with annual sales of more than $966 million. For information visit our web site at or call 503-682-5089.