It’s No Wonder Mexicans Are Coming Here for Jobs

David Fessler By David Fessler, Energy and Infrastructure Strategist, The Oxford Club

Energy

Presidential candidate Donald Trump wants to build a wall to keep Mexicans from illegally entering the U.S.

His idea is receiving mixed reviews.

Mexicans and other Latinos are coming here for a number of reasons. Some of the reasons are illicit. But most of them are not; these people just want good jobs.

According to the Pew Research Center, 5.1% of the U.S. labor force is made up of unauthorized immigrants. In border states like Texas, the percentage is even higher (9%).

There are Americans who complain that Mexicans are taking their jobs. But much of that is bunk.

Latinos are filling a huge gap in America’s labor market. They work in jobs many able-bodied American workers don’t want. Some of them are dirty, sweaty jobs.

The energy industry is a perfect example.

In some work crews, Latinos make up 50% of the workers on a job. They are vital to America’s energy industry.

They currently hold 20.4% (283,000) of all oil and natural gas industry jobs. In the construction and extraction sector (this includes energy), unauthorized immigrants make up about .

Plenty of opportunities in the energy sector don’t require a college degree. And more are coming.

IHS predicts the increase in America’s labor force between now and 2035 is going to be 80% Hispanic and African American. It also expects oil, natural gas and petrochemical industries to generate 1.9 million more jobs by 2035.

Based on IHS and Pew statistics, roughly 576,000 of those positions will be filled by Latinos. And 80,640 of them could be filled by unauthorized immigrants.

Building a wall would keep these vital workers in Mexico.

Mexico’s Dismal Energy Sector

Across the border, jobs in energy are scarce.

In 2013, Mexico opened up its energy sector. The country promised big opportunities to foreign companies willing to invest in its sagging energy sector.

And sagging it is.

Mexico’s crude production peaked at 3.82 million barrels per day in 2004. Compare that to 2016’s rate of 2.49 million bpd.

Mexico hasn’t seen production levels that low since 1981. Foreign investment in Mexico’s energy sector hasn’t happened.

Mexico held three post-reform auctions to sell promising onshore and offshore acreage for foreign interests to develop. American companies showed little interest.

Nearly all of the deals were between the Mexican government and Mexican companies. Most of them lack the funds and expertise to do anything productive with their acreage.

But the real reason U.S. companies showed no interest was the quality of the offerings. The Mexican government kept its best acreage out of the first round of auctions.

Now it’s auctioning again.

The second round of auctions is in March and April of 2017. However, this acreage isn’t much better than what Mexico offered before. Expect little, if any, American interest.

Mexico has national elections taking place in 2018. The leading candidate, Andrés Obrador, heads the hard-left Morena party.

He’s against opening up Mexico’s oil and gas sector to foreigners. If Mexicans elect him, Mexico’s energy economy could get even worse.

The country’s energy sector will continue its steep decline this year and in 2017. And if Obrador becomes president in 2018, things will probably continue to deteriorate.

Many of those laid-off Mexican energy sector workers have come to the U.S. They’re hoping to put their unique skills to work here.

To Build a Wall or Build an Industry?

Frankly, I think a wall is a bad idea. There are easier and less expensive ways to patrol and police our borders.

We should allow Latinos who want to come here

The reason for the steep increase is simple demographics.

Remember, a lot of these blue-collar jobs are shunned by other American workers. Cheap labor from unauthorized immigrants keeps costs low.

This is especially important in the energy industry. Right now, it’s looking at a long period of low oil prices. Labor is one of the largest costs companies have.

The problem is what to do with unauthorized immigrants who fill a need in the energy sector. Building a wall is not the solution.

That’s my two cents. What do you think? I’d like to hear your opinion on this very important and controversial issue. Click here to chime in..

Good investing,

Dave

P.S. Aside from limiting the number of Latino workers who could enter the country, building a wall between the U.S. and Mexico would require a lot of infrastructure spending. And that money could be better spent elsewhere. Check out my recent article on the condition of America’s infrastructure.