Goldilocks came home in April. After a rough first quarter in which GDP stalled and employment briefly nosedived, U.S. businesses added 223,000 payroll jobs in April. The unemployment rate fell from 5.5% to 5.4%—the lowest level since mid-2008. The number of people who entered the labor force in search of work also rose, a sign jobs are easier to find.
There is, however, a conspicuous weak spot in this economy: wage growth. Wages rose a scanty 0.1% in April. By this time in the recovery cycle gains of 3.0% per year are the norm. The influx of low wage foreign-born workers is undoubtedly a factor—albeit unacknowledged by the Main Stream Media—in keeping wages low.
April was one of those rare months in which native-born American workers crawled out of their foxholes, grabbing jobs at significantly higher rates while immigrants were losing them. The “other” employment survey, of households rather than businesses, reports 192,000 new jobs were added last month, with native-born Americans running the table. But the long term trend, of immigrants displacing Americans, remains intact.
Native-born American employment growth is the black line, immigrant employment growth is in pink, and NVAWDI—the ratio of immigrant to native-born American job growth—is in yellow. The index starts at 100.0 for both immigrants and native-born Americans in January 2009, and tracks their employment growth since then.
From January 2009 to April 2015:
The immigrant share of total employment fell to 16.70% in April, the lowest level since July 2014. Despite the decline, the long-term displacement trend is intact: in only eight of the 76 months of Obama’s tenure have immigrant workers accounted for a greater share of U.S. employment than they did last month.
April’s immigrant employment share was 1.71 percentage points above the level recorded in February 2009, the first full month of Mr. Obama’s administration.
With total employment now at a record 148.5 million, every one percentage point rise in the foreign-born employment share translates to as many as 1,485,000 displaced native-born workers. Implication: Obama-era immigration may have pushed as many as 2.54 million (1.71 times 1,485,000) native-born Americans onto the unemployment rolls.
A detailed snapshot of American worker displacement over the past year is seen in the “Employment Status of the civilian population by nativity” table published in the monthly BLS report:
|Employment Status by Nativity, April 2014-April 2015(numbers in 1000s; not seasonally adjusted)|
|Foreign born, 16 years and older|
|Civilian labor force||25,127||26,103||976||3.9%|
|Participation rate (%)||65.5%||65.3%||-0.2%||-0.3%|
|Unemployment rate (%)||5.6%||4.9%||-0.7%||-12.5%|
|Not in labor force||13,264||13,895||631||4.8%|
|Native born, 16 years and older|
|Civilian labor force||129,718||130,451||733||0.6%|
|Participation rate (%)||62.1%||62.0%||-0.1%||-0.2%|
|Unemployment rate (%)||5.9%||5.1%||-0.8%||-13.6%|
|Not in labor force||79,330||79,817||487||0.6%|
|Source: BLS, The Employment Situation - April 2015, Table A-7, May 8, 2015.PDF|
From April 2014 to April 2015:
Meanwhile, the native-born American population of working age grew by a mere 0.6%—one-seventh the growth rate of the immigrant worker population over the same 12 months.