National Data | April Jobs: Hispanics Up, non-Hispanics Down
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[See also Paul Craig Roberts: The Fading US Economy]

Apologies to T.S. Eliot, but April was one of the cruelest months we've had in quite some time. Sure, the headline number—138,000 additional payroll jobs—was good news for the financial markets: neither too hot, not too cold. In short, a sign that the Fed may be finally "done."

But the "other" employment survey, based on households rather than businesses, indicates that the Fed's work may just be beginning—toward added stimulus rather than restraint. The household survey reports a mere 47,000 jobs added last month. Hispanics were the sole beneficiaries.

Here are the April employment gains/losses by racial group:

  • Total: +47,000 (+0.03 percent)


  • Hispanic: + 91,000 (+0.47 percent)


  • Non-Hispanic -44,000 (-0.04 percent)


  • Black -28,000 (-0.18 percent)

The data suggest a classic displacement of non-Hispanic, primarily unskilled minority workers, by Hispanics. This perception is reinforced by the April pattern of labor force participation rates:

  • Hispanic: 68.9 percent (+0.1 point from March)


  • Non-Hispanic 65.7 percent (unchanged)


  • Black: 64.4 percent (- 0.1 point)

Because so many Hispanics are immigrants or the children of immigrants, Hispanic employment is the best proxy we have for the impact of immigration on employment. The ratio of Hispanic to non-Hispanic employment growth is a strong indication of how foreign-born workers fare relative to native-born workers.

From the start of the Bush Administration (January 2001) through April 2006:

  • Hispanic employment rose 3.36 million (+20.8 percent)


  • Non-Hispanic jobs rose 2.55 million (+2.1 percent)

The American Worker Displacement Index (VDAWDI) tracks the ratio of Hispanic to non-Hispanic job growth for all months since January 2001:

The black line is Hispanic job growth; pink is non-Hispanic, and yellow the ratio of Hispanic to non-Hispanic (VDAWDI.)

In April 2006 VDAWDI rose to a record 118.3

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

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