May 1st, 2012. During the period of 2005 to 2010, 1.4 million Mexicans returned to Mexico, the same number as entered the United States, as investigated by the Pew Hispanic Center and reported by the Wall Street Journal in an article last week. There are many factors that have driven this reversal of longstanding migration patterns of Mexican immigrants into and out of the United States. On the one hand, the economic downturn in the United States has disproportionately contracted immigrant-driven sectors such as construction. This phenomenon implies higher difficulties and lower returns to finding work in the United States. Expanded enforcement of immigration policies in borer states such as Arizona have also created a very difficult environment for immigrants.
On the other hand, economic opportunities are on the rise in Mexico. After a notable contraction in 2009 due to the economic recession, Mexican economic growth has taken off again. As reported by the National Statistics Institute (Inegi), Mexico’s GDP grew by 5.5% in 2010, and 3.9% in 2011. This has translated into growth in employment opportunities in Mexico, and has drawn many Mexican immigrants back home.
This has broad implications for labor markets on both sides. Beyond the phenomenon’s potential impact on the United States economy, these large movements of people will necessitate adequate pairing of Mexican workers with jobs upon returning to their native country.