National Data | August Jobs: American Worker Displacement Slowed Last Month—But Last Year Was Devastating
September 17, 2010, 05:00 AM
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VDARE.COM`s American Worker Displacement Index (VDAWDI), after a record run-up in July, took a breather in August:

  • Total August employment: up 290,000  (+0.21 percent)
  • Hispanic employment: up 15,000 (+0.08 percent)
  • Non-Hispanic employment: up 275,000 (+0.23 percent)

Private employers hired more workers in August than economists anticipated, softening the blow from the layoff of temporary Census workers. Total employment shrank by 54,000, but there was a relatively strong private sector employment rebound – up by 67,000.

The "other" labor survey, of households rather than businesses, showed 290,000 new positions were added in August—the first gain since April.

But, while VDAWDI slipped 0.2% from the record reached in July, the nearly decade-long trend of Hispanic job growth outpacing that of non-Hispanics remains firmly entrenched:

The national unemployment rate edged up to 9.6% from 9.5% in July. For the second consecutive month, however, foreign-born labor, as proxied by Hispanic workers, managed to buck the trend: 

Unemployment rates (%)

 

July 2010

August 2010

Change,

June-July

White

8.6

8.7

0.1

Black

15.6

16.3

0.7

Hispanic

12.1

12.0

-0.1

PDF Summary Table A.

When we set up VDAWDI almost six years ago, we used Hispanic workers as a proxy for immigrants (some 40% of Hispanics were then foreign-born) because the federal government was not releasing monthly data on immigrant employment. (It did release an annual report, [PDF] which has confirmed VDAWDI`s findings).

Early this year, however, the Federal Government began releasing its monthly immigrant employment data. Ultimately we will revise VDAWDI to reflect this, although there are technical problems e.g. the data is not presented on a month-over-month basis and is not seasonally adjusted.

However, we can already look at the data on a year-over-year basis. And the results are devastating:

Employment Status by Nativity, Aug. 2009-Aug. 2010

(numbers in 1000s; not seasonally adjusted)

 

Aug-09

Aug-10

Change

% Change

 

Foreign born, 16 years and older

Civilian population

35,310

36,347

1,037

2.9%

Civilian labor force

24,142

24,644

502

2.1%

Employed

21,695

22,415

720

3.3%

Employment/population ratio (%)

61.4

61.7

0.3

0.5%

Unemployed

2,447

2,229

-218

-8.9%

   Unemployment rate (%)

10.1

9.0

-1.1

-10.9%

 

Native born, 16 years and older

Civilian population

200,774

201,752

978

0.5%

Civilian labor force

130,755

130,034

-721

-0.6%

Employed

118,379

117,504

-875

-0.7%

Employment/population ratio (%)

59.0

58.2

-0.8

-0.2%

Unemployed

12,375

12,530

155

1.3%

   Unemployment rate (%)

9.5

9.6

0.1

1.1%

Source: BLS, "The Employment Situation - August 2010," September 3, 2010. Table A-7.

PDF

In other words, over the past 12 months:  

  • Immigrant employment rose 3.3%; native-born employment fell 0.7%
  • Immigrant unemployment fell by 8.9%; native-born unemployment rose 1.3%
  • The immigrant unemployment rate (unemployment relative to workforce) declined by 10.9%; the native-born unemployment rate rose 1.1%. As a result:
  • The native-born and immigrants switched places: last August, the native-born unemployment rate was 0.6 percentage points below that of immigrants; this August, the native-born rate was 0.6 percentage points above the immigrant rate.
  • The proportion of the native-born working age population actually working declined; it rose for immigrants.

Not only is the proportion of immigrant work force that is employed rising—there is continued rapid growth in foreign-born working age population (16 years and older.). This rose 2.9% in the twelve months ending August 2010—or nearly six times the corresponding growth rate for natives.

Coming at a time when many illegals are reportedly returning to Mexico, this reflects the continued extraordinary high rate of legal immigration—in the teeth of historically high rates of unemployment.

Public policy is utterly perverse. For the sake of America`s unemployed, we need an immigration moratorium now!

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