National Data | October Jobs: New Federal Data Confirms VDAWDI—Displacement Surging
November 10, 2010, 04:00 AM
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The headlines reported 151,000 jobs were created in October, more than twice what economists had expected. That`s the good news.

The bad news: that isn`t enough to absorb the people just entering the U.S. labor force—most of them immigrants. Even if the economy expands and starts adding 208,000 per month—as it did in the best month this decade—it will take 12 years to push unemployment down to pre-recession levels, according to the Brookings Institution. (The Great Recession`s Toll on Long-Term Unemployment, by Michael Greenstone and Adam Looney, November 5, 2010)

The really bad news: the "other" employment survey, of households rather than businesses, reported an October job loss of 330,000 – with Hispanics bearing the brunt. VDARE.com`s American Worker Displacement Index (VDAWDI) fell from a record high in September to 126.3 in October, as Hispanics lost jobs faster than non-Hispanics:

  • Total employment: down 330,000  (-0.24 percent)

  • Hispanic employment: down 131,000 (-0.65 percent)

  • Non-Hispanic employment: down 199,000 (-0.17 percent)

October 2010 was an anomaly in this respect. Since the official end of the recession in June 2009 non-Hispanics have lost 1.3 million jobs while Hispanic employment has increased:

  •  For every 1,000 Hispanics employed in June 2009 there were 1,017 employed in October 2010

  • For every 1,000 non-Hispanics employed in June 2009 there were 989 employed in October 2010

So far as jobs are concerned, Hispanics are the only group in recovery mode since the recession ended.

Remember, Hispanic employment has always been a proxy for our primary interest: immigrant employment and its role in displacing native-born workers in the labor market. When we began VDAWDI in 2004, the federal government only made this data available annually.

But in recent months the jobs report has finally begun presenting monthly data on foreign- and native-born workers, their working-age populations, employment, unemployment rates, etc.

By this measure, VDAWDI was actually too cautious—the feds say October saw a continuation of American worker displacement:

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

(numbers in 1000s; not seasonally adjusted)

Oct-09

Oct-10

Change

% Change

Foreign born, 16 years and older

Civilian population

35,552

39,341

3,789

10.7%

Civilian labor force

24,200

24,530

330

1.4%

Employed

21,856

22,281

425

1.9%

Unemployed

2,345

2,249

-96

-4.1%

Unemployment rate (%)

9.7

9.2

-0.5

-5.2%

Not in labor force

11,351

11,811

460

4.0%

Native born, 16 years and older

Civilian population

200,998

202,189

1,191

0.6%

Civilian labor force

129,435

129,122

-313

-0.2%

Employed

117,233

117,468

235

0.2%

Unemployed

12,202

11,654

-548

-4.5%

Unemployment rate (%)

9.4

9.0

-0.4

-4.3%

Not in labor force

71,563

73,067

1,504

2.1%

       Source: BLS, "The Employment Situation - October 2010," November 5, 2010. Table A-7. http://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/empsit.pdf

Over the past 12 months:  

  • The immigrant labor force (people working or looking for work) increased by 1.4%; the native-born labor force declined by 0.2%
  • Foreign-born employment rose 1.9%; native-born employment rose just 0.2%
  • The number of foreign-born unemployed declined by 4.1%; native-born unemployment declined 4.5%
  • The immigrant unemployment rate declined by 5.2%; the native-born rate declined 4.3%.

Perhaps the most extraordinary gap between the native-born and immigrants: the rate at which their working age populations are grew over the past year: 10.7% for immigrants and just 0.6% for native-born.

At these rates the foreign-born working age population will double in less than seven years while the native-born native will need 120 years to respond in kind.

Conclusion: it is immigrants, not the native-born, who will put even more pressure on the American labor market in coming years.

Moral: Moratorium now!

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