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National Data | New York Times` Frank Rich Claims Only The "Wealthiest Sliver" Is Gaining In The Great Recession—But In Fact Immigrants Are Out-Slivering Americans
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December 05, 2010, 04:00 AM
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The U.S. economy added just 39,000 jobs in November. This is a heavy blow to the Obama Administration. It demolishes the strong recovery scenario and increases the likelihood that there will be likelihood that further Federal stimulus will be needed. With the deficit maxed out, that can only mean cheaper money—and the threat of hyper-inflation—in our future.

Needless to say, nobody except VDARE.com is talking about the obvious answer: an anti-unemployment immigration moratorium.

For the second month in a row the household employment survey found fewer people at work. But, breaking with the long-run trend, VDARE.com`s American Worker Displacement Index (VDAWDI) fell to 126.2 in November, as Hispanics lost jobs at more than twice the rate of non-Hispanics:

  • Total employment: down 173,000 (-0.12 percent)

  • Hispanic employment: down 43,000 (-0.22 percent)

  • Non-Hispanic employment: down 130,000 (-0.11 percent)

 

Economic trends are rarely straight lines. To gauge how unrepresentative of the long-run trend October and November were: since the official end of the recession in June 2009, non-Hispanics have lost 1.3 million jobs—while Hispanic employment is up by 247,000.

  • For every 1,000 Hispanics employed in June 2009 there were 1,015 employed in November 2010

  • For every 1,000 non-Hispanics employed in June 2009 there were 988 employed in November 2010

Economic output—Gross Domestic Product—may be off its recessionary lows. But as far as the job market is concerned, Hispanics are the only group in recovery mode.

Hispanic employment, of course, has been our 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, November 2010 actually saw a continuation of American worker displacement:

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

(numbers in 1000s; not seasonally adjusted)

 

Nov-09

Nov-10

Change

% Change

 

Foreign born, 16 years and older

Civilian population

35,956

36,350

394

1.1%

Civilian labor force

24,350

24,788

438

1.8%

Employed

22,091

22,387

296

1.3%

Unemployed

2,259

2,401

142

6.3%

Unemployment rate (%)

9.3

9.7

0.4

4.3%

Not in labor force

11,606

11,562

-44

-0.4%

 

Native born, 16 years and older

Civilian population

200,787

202,365

1,578

0.8%

Civilian labor force

129,189

128,909

-280

-0.2%

Employed

117,041

117,029

-12

0.0%

Unemployed

12,148

11,881

-267

-2.2%

Unemployment rate (%)

9.4

9.2

-0.2

-2.1%

Not in labor force

71,598

73,455

1,857

2.6%

Source: BLS, "The Employment Situation - November 2010,"December 3, 2010. Table A-7. http://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/empsit.pdf

In other words, over the past 12 months:  

  • The immigrant labor force (people working or looking for work) increased by 1.8%; the native labor force declined by 0.2%
  • Foreign-born employment rose 1.3%; native employment was virtually unchanged.
  • The unemployment rate for natives fell mainly because nearly 1.9 million natives left the labor force too discouraged to look for work.

This bifurcated job market might be the subject of New York Times columnist Frank Rich`s recent screed. He wrote:

"Two years after the economic meltdown, most Americans now recognize that that money has inexorably institutionalized a caste system where everyone remains (at best) mired in economic stasis except the very wealthiest sliver." [Still the Best Congress Money Can Buy, November 27, 2010]

Except that in the U.S. job market, nativity, not wealth, is the dividing line—with natives the low-caste untouchables, immigrants the Brahmins.

Rich goes on:

"The Great Depression ended the last comparable Gilded Age, of the 1920s, and brought about major reforms in American government and business. Not so the Great Recession. Last week, as the Fed`s new growth projections downsized hope for significant decline in the unemployment rate, the Commerce Department reported that corporate profits hit a record high. Those profits aren`t trickling down into new jobs or into higher salaries for those not in the executive suites…"

But Rich ignores here a key factor in reducing income inequality in the Depression—a highly restrictive immigration policy. Only about 500,000 legal immigrants entered the U.S. during the whole of the 1930s. Now, in 2009 alone, more than 460, 000 entered, and a total of 1,130,818 green cards were issued.

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