National Data | April American Worker Displacement: Is An "Arizona Effect" Showing Up?
May 11, 2010, 05:00 AM
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U.S. nonfarm payrolls added 290,000 workers in April, the biggest increase since March 2006, with broad gains throughout the economy, Bureau of Labor Statistics data showed Friday. (See the full report: PDF) The Household Survey found an even more robust job surge, with 550,000 new positions reported for the month.

The Household Survey is particularly revealing because:

  1. it canvasses people rather than just large employers, and
  2. it notes the respondent`s race and ethnicity.

People who work for small businesses, "off the books" or are self employed will show up in the Household Survey. That includes many illegal aliens.

April 2010 marked the second consecutive month in which Hispanic employment—our proxy for foreign-born workers, because about 40% of them are immigrants—barely budged.

Here is the action for the month:

  • Total employment: +550,000 (+0.40 percent)
  • Hispanic employment: +2,000 (+0.01 percent)
  • Non-Hispanic employment: +548,000 (+0.46 percent)

Accordingly, the VDARE.COM American Worker Displacement Index (VDAWDI) fell by 0.3 percent to 125.3.:

The recession has undoubtedly reduced the number of illegal aliens working in the U.S. But the last two months are unique. In both March and April healthy expansions of non-Hispanic employment were accompanied by near zero growth in Hispanic jobs. Not since late 2007 has VDAWDI declined for two consecutive months.

Since we invented it in 2001, of course, VDAWDI has ratcheted up to a record high of 126.1 in February—showing that Hispanics (= immigrants) decisively outpaced American workers in the race for jobs over the decade.

Could the recent hiatus in Hispanic employment growth be related to restrictionist legislation?

Obviously, the Arizona law, passed on April 20th, could not have moved the needle much. Not directly, anyway. But the mere prospect of such legislation could well have had such an effect. And not just in Arizona: at least seven other states, and a handful of municipalities, have been considering stricter immigration laws. Oklahoma and Georgia have actually passed them, mysteriously without the world coming to an end.

Arizona was merely the first to get the national Main Stream Media`s attention.

A reduction in the illegal alien population could well explain the divergence in foreign and U.S.-born population trends over the past year:

Employment Status by Nativity, April 2009-April 2010

(numbers in 1000s; not seasonally adjusted)

 

Apr-09

Apr-10

Change

% Change

 

Foreign born, 16 years and older

Civilian population

35,039

34,996

-43

-0.1%

Employed

21,750

21,816

66

0.3%

Unemployed

2,032

2,100

68

3.3%

  Unemployment rate

8.5

8.8

0.3

3.5%

Not in labor force

11,257

11,080

-177

-1.6%

 

Native born, 16 years and older

Civilian population

200,232

202,333

2,101

1.0%

Employed

118,835

117,486

-1,349

-1.1%

Unemployed

11,216

12,509

1,293

11.5%

  Unemployment rate

8.6

9.6

1.0

11.6%

Not in labor force

70,180

72,337

2,157

3.1%

Source: BLS, "The Employment Situation -April 2010," May 7, 2010. Table A-7. PDF

The working age immigrant population was 43,000 lower in April 2010 than April 2009—a reduction of 0.1%. This is the first such decline since BLS started reporting foreign-born employment in January.

The year-over-year numbers also show American Worker Displacement to be very much alive. The number of immigrants working in the U.S. grew by 66,000 in the 12 months ending April 2010. Native born employment shrunk by 1.349 million, or 1.1%, over the same period.

Native unemployment (9.6% in April) was considerably above that of the foreign-born (8.8%). The gap between the two rates expanded from 0.3 to 0.8 percentage points over the past year.

(Number junkies take note: these are seasonally unadjusted unemployment rates, and as such are not directly comparable to the 9.9% unemployment rate reported by BLS on Friday.)

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