National Data | April Jobs: Behind Mixed Headlines, A Blow For Americans
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Just-released data [PDF] from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that the unemployment rate, based on the Household Survey, moved up to nine percent from 8.8 percent in April.

But the Payroll (which BLS calls the business "Establishment") Survey showed that employers added 244,000 jobs in April, with the gain in private sector jobs the strongest in five years.

Two numbers; two contradictory trends.

Not surprisingly, the MainStream Media focused on the Payroll Survey, based on a survey of employers and is considered by official Washington to be a more reliable month-to-month indicator. It shows employers are hiring, despite slower income growth and higher gas prices.  

But, as I pointed out on in 2004 (!!!), this probably does not capture the employment of illegal aliens, whereas the Household Survey probably does.

And, even so, April's unemployment rate is troubling. When times are good, the unemployment rate often goes up because, as confidence grows, people resume their job search. But in this case, unemployment rose not because people without jobs decided to start looking for one—but because fewer people reported having a job.

Total employment fell by 190,000 in April according to the Household Survey. Non-Hispanics bore the full brunt:

  • Total employment: down 190,000  (-0.14 percent)

  • Hispanic employment: up 5,000 (+0.02 percent)

  • Non-Hispanic employment: down 195,000 (-0.16 percent)

VDARE.COM's American Worker Displacement Index (VDAWDI) rose to 127.0 in April, from the 126.7 reading reached in January.

Since the official end of the recession in June 2009 non-Hispanics have lost 865,000 jobs while Hispanics have gained 501,000 positions.

Hispanic employment is, of course, our proxy for our primary interest: foreign-born workers and their role in displacing their native-born counterparts.

We used this proxy because the Federal Government was not then releasing monthly data on foreign-born employment. It released it only yearly. We found that VDAWDI was a good, even conservative, proxy.

After January 2010, however, BLS, mysteriously, has begun to emit figures for foreign-born vs. native-born employment. 

Unfortunately, these data are not seasonally adjusted. This makes month to month trends very difficult to interpret.

BLS attempts to resolve this dilemma by comparing the current month with the same month of the prior year:

By this measure, April 2011 was the first month since BLS started publishing the data that natives-born Americans appear to be gaining jobs while immigrants are losing them—year over year.  But our experience with VDAWDI suggests that this may be statistical noise. And the long-run trend is the same as VDAWDI: Americans are being displaced by immigrants.

Plus VDAWDI still means that Hispanics are gaining at the expense of others.

We hope to address these issues soon.

Edwin S. Rubenstein (email him) is President of ESR Research Economic Consultants in Indianapolis.

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