National Data | August Jobs’ Labor Day Message: Immigration Moratorium Now!
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Maybe because it was the eve of Labor Day, even Obama’s MSM cheerleaders seemed discouraged by August’s job numbers, released Friday. (Zero Job Growth Latest Bleak Sign for U.S. Economy, by Shaila Dewan, New York Times, September 2, 2011).

To put this “zero growth” in perspective, immigration policy brings around 100,000 new workers into the U.S. each month. This includes green cards issued to working age immigrants plus visas for “temporary” workers, which often attain permanent resident status. (Our friends at NumbersUSA use an estimate of 125,000 new workers imported each month, but I think that misinterprets DHS statistics which tally the number of times temporary visa recipients enter the country rather than the number of such visas issued. Needless to say, this sort of scrupulousness doesn’t get us any credit).


Still, not for the first time, we think the MSM mewling misses the point. The widely-cited payroll survey does show zero employment growth. But the “other” survey—of households rather than business establishments—showed a strong job gain. Household employment rose by 331,000 positions in August, the largest increase since April 2010. (This divergence baffles Establishment economists: we have argued that it is because the Household Survey counts the employment of illegal aliens.)

But, again not for the first time, August’s data show Hispanic workers captured the bulk of the Household Survey’s job growth:

  • Total employment rose 331,000 (+0.24  percent)
  • non-Hispanic employment rose 170,000 (+0.14 percent)
  • Hispanic employment rose 161,000 (+0.80 percent)
In other words, Hispanic employment grew nearly six times as rapidly as non-Hispanic employment in August, according to the Household Survey. (Race is not broken out in the Employment Survey).

This pushed our old American Worker Displacement Index— VDAWDI, unveiled November 16, 2006—to a record:



To put this in words: for every 100 Hispanics working in the U.S. in January 2001, there are now 126.1; for every 100 non-Hispanics working that month there are now only 98.1.

The ratio of those two figures [126.1/98.1 multiplied by 100] equals 128.5. Thus Old VDAWDI, set at 100.0 on January 2001, was 128.5 in August.  

However, for Hispanic employment was always merely a convenient, but imperfect, proxy for our main interest: the displacement of native-born workers by immigrants. (It worked because about 40% of Hispanics were foreign-born in 2004). As is often the case with immigration, the federal government simply chose not provide the key statistics.

Then, mysteriously, in January 2010, BLS did begin publishing monthly job figures for immigrant and native-born workers, compared to 12 months earlier.

This allows us to view American Worker Displacement over the entire course of Obama’s presidency

Setting January 2009 employment levels at 100.0 for both native-born and immigrants, immigrant employment stood at 102.5 in August, an increase of 2.5%. Native-born employment fell to 97.4, a 2.6% decline.

Thus the ratio of immigrant to native-born employment growth since Obama took office [102.5/97.4 multiplied by 100] equals 105.2.

We call this our New VDAWDI.


The New VDAWDI index peaked at 107.0 in June 2010. It has declined a little subsequently, reflecting perhaps increased unemployment among legal immigrants, the return of many unemployed illegal aliens to Mexico…and perhaps the long-run reality that the children of illegal aliens are technically U.S. citizens under the current misinterpretation of the 14th Amendment, and therefore count as native-born.

Note, though, that the unemployment rate for immigrants in August (legal and illegal. the government doesn’t distinguish) was 8.6%—below the corresponding rate for native workers (9.2%).

COMING ATTRACTIONS: is about to begin a new National Data series tracking racial shares in employment.

Of course, our Old VDAWDI did directly measure Hispanic employment. Hispanic unemployment rates are above the national average, but this masks the fact that the number of employed Hispanics has risen rapidly.

Blacks are not so lucky.  Their unemployment situation has deteriorated both in absolute terms—fewer Blacks are working now than at the start of the Obama Administration—and relative to the size of the Black labor force. Thus the Black unemployment rate was a catastrophic 16.7% in August.

White unemployment was 8.0%.

A teaser for the New Data series: note that, during the Obama years, two racial groups have both suffered job losses—Whites and Blacks.

These are the two groups formerly known as “Americans”.

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

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