Someone polled a number of prominent economists whether the influx of refugees into Germany beginning in 2015 will generate net economic benefits for German citizens over the succeeding decade.
About half said yes, a little less than than half were unsure. 2% disagreed.
As of late 2017, the job status was as following:
~20% had any job.
~largely those were low-skilled jobs
Now you have to understand that Germany is a fairly plush welfare state, one that spends a lot of money on its inhabitants. School, medical care, housing, the whole ball of wax. In order to be a net contributor, you have to have a pretty high income. Even higher, if we’re thinking of someone being a net contributor over a lifetime – you have to consider retirement and old-age costs. The occasional gaudy acts of terrorism hardly help: protection is costly. Maybe it boosts GDP like an epidemic of broken windows?
Next, your typical Syrian or Afghani immigrant doesn’t speak German and doesn’t have a lot of human capital: he isn’t a fresh graduate of a German technical high school. If typical of his home country, he has an IQ in the 80s. He finds both beer and blood sausage abhorrent – fitting in is difficult.
The birth rates are very low in Germany and the big companies would like more skilled labor. But after a year, out of a million-some refugees, less than 100 got jobs in those big German companies.
So.. On this not-terribly-difficult, not-terribly rare kind of problem, economists are worse than useless. I could put it more strongly !