In fact, it wasn’t even close. With the wall still a metaphor, E-Verify not universal, and even Trump’s hard ban on entries from some Muslim countries sabotaged (temporarily) by the courts, many of us wondered whether the first month of his tenure would be materially different from the 96 months of the past eight years. We can now exhale. Household Survey Jobs data released Friday revealed one of the biggest U-turns in the insidious displacement native-born American workers by their foreign-born immigrant competitors since January 2009—the month Barack Obama became President.
As usual, the MSM focused on a different employment survey, the one that does not ask nativity or ethnicity of workers. The payroll survey found a respectable 235,000 new jobs were created in February, a continuation of the steady albeit unspectacular growth of the past few years.
But the “other” employment survey, of households rather than employers, reported a gain of 447,000 jobs in February—nearly twice the gain reported by employers. More importantly, our analysis of Household Survey data indicates a stunning reversal in American worker displacement:
We have a long way to go, of course. Native-born American workers lost ground to their foreign-born competitors throughout the Obama years, and this trend accelerated significantly in the months leading up to the election. The displacement of native-born Americans by immigrants, which we measure by the extent by which immigrants have gained jobs at a faster pace than natives since January 2009, hit an Obama-Era high in August 2016.
While February 2017 may mark an inflection point, it does not undo the damage of the prior eight years. This is brought out in our New VDARE.com American Worker Displacement Index (NVDAWDI) graphic:
Native-born American employment growth is represented by the black line, immigrant employment growth is in pink, and NVAWDI—the ratio of immigrant to native-born American job growth—is in yellow. The index starts at 100.0 in January 2009 for both immigrants and native-born Americans, and tracks their employment growth since then.
From January 2009 through February 2017:
During the first full month of the Trump administration, immigrant employment fell by 0.49%, while native-born employment rose by 0.46%.
The key variable in the displacement story: the foreign-born share of total U.S. employment. This rose steadily, albeit erratically, throughout the Obama years, before dropping off President Trump’s first month.
In February 2009, Barack Obama’s first full month in office, 14.97% of all persons working in the U.S. were foreign-born. In his last full month, December 2016, 17.05% of workers were foreign-born. This implies that Obama-era immigration pushed as many as 3.16 million native-born Americans onto the unemployment rolls.
By contrast, the immigrant share of employment in Trump’s first month (16.95%) was 0.1% points below the share in Obama’s last month. This implies that Trump’s immigration policies may have already put 152,500 native-born workers back to work.
The claw-back has a long way to go, but it is in play.
A detailed snapshot of American worker displacement over the past year is seen in the Employment Status of the Civilian Population by nativity table published in the monthly BLS Report. [PDF]
|Employment Status by Nativity, Feb.2016-Feb. 2017|
|(numbers in 1000s; not seasonally adjusted)|
|Foreign born, 16 years and older|
|Civilian labor force||26,602||27,049||447||1.7%|
|Participation rate (%)||64.9||65.8||0.9 %pts.||1.4%|
|Employment/population %||62.0||62.5||0.5 %pts.||0.8%|
|Unemployment rate (%)||4.6||5.0||0.4 % pts.||8.7%|
|Not in labor force||14,358||14,088||-270||-1.9%|
|Native born, 16 years and older|
|Civilian labor force||131,677||132,432||755||0.6%|
|Participation rate (%)||62.2||62.1||-0.1%||0.0%|
|Unemployment rate (%)||5.3||4.9||-0.4%||-0.1%|
|Not in labor force||79,941||80,676||735||0.9%|
|Source: BLS, The Employment Situation - February 2017, Table A-7, March 10, 2017.|
Over the last 12 months (February 2016 to February 2017):
In addition, the population numbers also give us reason for optimism. The above table shows that the working-age immigrant population grew by a mere 177,000, or 0.4%, over the past 12 months. That is a fraction of the 1 million per year figure commonly cited for legal immigration of all ages—another sharp change, because since January 2016 immigrant workforce growth regularly exceeded estimated legal inflow, evidence of the surge of illegal immigration that occurred in Obama’s last year.
Could this sharp change signal a post-Trump exodus of illegals? Stay tuned.