National Data | American Worker Displacement Resumes—Immigration Moratorium Essential
June 07, 2010, 05:00 AM
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Nonfarm payrolls grew by a seasonally adjusted 431,000 in May, but virtually all the new jobs were temporary jobs at the U.S. Census, the Labor Department reported Friday, June 4. Netting out the 411,000 Census takers, payrolls rose by 20,000 in May.

The extremely disappointing report left many wondering whether a double-dip recession is looming.

In fact, the second leg down may already be here. The other employment survey (of households rather than businesses) showed a 35,000 job reduction—the first decline since last December. Household employment usually leads payroll employment in signaling turns in the economic cycle.

Even more important from VDARE.COM`s point of view: May`s household survey also reveals a sharp divide between Hispanic and non-Hispanic employment trends—advantage Hispanics. Here is the action for the month:

  • Total employment: -35,000  (-0.03 percent)
  • Hispanic employment: +103,000 (+0.52 percent)
  • Non-Hispanic employment: -138,000 (+0.12 percent)

The VDARE.COM American Worker Displacement Index (VDAWDI), after falling in March and April, regained its record high—126.1—reached in February.

Last month, we speculated that a brief pause in American worker displacement might be due to the "Arizona Effect"—illegals leaving because of signs that American legislators, at the state level at least, are finally moving to protect their constituents. That effect has either dissipated or been overwhelmed by the deteriorating economy.

Our index of American worker displacement is calculated like this:

  • For every 100.0 Hispanics employed in January 2001 there were 123.8 in May 2010

  • For every 100.0 non-Hispanics employed in January 2001 there were 98.2 in May 2010

  • May`s VDAWDI equals 126.1 (=100 X 123.8/98.2)

VDAWDI is the best measure we have of how foreign-born workers fare relative to native born workers in the latest month. It is imperfect: only 40% of the Hispanic labor force are immigrants—though the rest may be first and second generation. But this approximation is eliminated in a table recently added to the monthly employment report.

Since January BLS has devoted a page of its monthly report to foreign- and native-born employment. The data are not seasonally adjusted, making month to month comparisons impossible. But we can compare May 2010 with May 2009.

Read it and weep:

Employment Status by Nativity, May 2009-May 2010

(numbers in 1000s; not seasonally adjusted)

 

May-09

May-10

Change

% Change

 

Foreign born, 16 years and older

Civilian population

34,761

35,647

886

2.5%

Civilian labor force

23,638

24,210

572

2.4%

Employed

21,488

22,125

637

3.0%

Unemployed

2,149

2,085

-64

-3.0%

   Unemployment rate

9.1

8.6

-0.5

-5.5%

Not in labor force

11,123

11,437

314

2.8%

 

Native born, 16 years and older

Civilian population

200,691

201,852

1,161

0.6%

Civilian labor force

130,699

129,656

-1,043

-0.8%

Employed

118,875

117,372

-1,503

-1.3%

Unemployed

11,824

12,284

460

3.9%

   Unemployment rate

9.0

9.5

0.5

5.6%

Not in labor force

69,992

72,196

2,204

3.1%

Source: BLS, "The Employment Situation—May  2010," June 4, 2010. Table A-7.

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In other words, over the past 12 months:

  • foreign-born workers gained 637,000 jobs; natives lost 1,503,000 positions.

  • Unemployment rates for immigrants declined by 0.5 points, to 8.6%; native unemployment rose 0.5 points, to 9.5%.

  • The immigrant labor force grew by 2.4%; the native labor force shrank 0.8%—a sign of discouragement.

Overarching everything is the burgeoning population gap between these groups.  Over the past year the foreign-born population of working age rose 2.5%, or more than four-times the 0.6% rate for natives.

The Obama Administration`s fiscal stimulus has failed to end unemployment. Can an immigration moratorium be far behind?

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