Payroll employment rose by only 78,000 in May 2005. That was less than half the gain predicted by economists, and the worst monthly showing since August 2003 when a miniscule 2,000 jobs were created.
Yet May's job number was good enough to lower the unemployment rate to 5.1 percent from April's 5.2 percent.
Sort of. Unemployment is calculated from a different set of figures—the Household Survey. According to that survey, 376,000 jobs were added in May—nearly 5 times the official payroll figure.
And the Household survey also shows that Hispanic workers, comprising 15 percent of the U.S. labor force, landed about half of those jobs.
As a result, the Hispanic unemployment rate declined by 0.4 points in May. White unemployment was unchanged. The Black rate declined by 0.3 points.
For years, the Payroll and Household Surveys have told different stories. From the start of the Bush Administration in January 2001 through May 2005, for example, payroll jobs have edged up by 893,000, to 133.3 million. The Household Survey, on the other hand, reports spectacular job growth throughout most of the period, with 3.7 million new jobs and total employment rising to 141.5 million.
Why such divergent results? Economists aren't sure. Some have argued that new economy workers such as part-time consultants, eBay entrepreneurs, and even real estate agents—i.e., people who are not on company payrolls but self-employed—are tallied in the Household Survey but not in the Payroll Survey.
However, as I've argued on VDARE.COM before, there's a neater, simpler explanation: illegal aliens.
Illegals don't show up in the payroll numbers because employers have long feared (mistakenly, it appears) that the Feds will eventually enforce the law. We believe it is no coincidence that the gap between the two employment surveys—8 million jobs – so strikingly resembles the official estimated number of illegal immigrant workers.
Neither survey is politically incorrect enough to ask workers where they were born. But the Household Survey does record race and ethnicity. Since about 40 percent of all Hispanic workers—and an even larger share of new Hispanic workers—are immigrants, Hispanic employment is the best proxy we have for the month to month increases in the immigrant workforce.
The displacement of native workers by immigrants is easily seen by tracking the trend of Hispanic and non-Hispanic employment growth:
From January 2001 through this May Hispanic employment rose by 15.1 percent and non-Hispanic employment rose by 1.0 percent. The VDAWDI index reflects the relative difference between these two employment trends, i.e., the displacement effect.
At 114.1 percent, the May VDAWDI was a record high.
What appears to be the Bush policy of dissolving the American workforce and electing another is continuing apace.
Edwin S. Rubenstein (email him) is President of ESR Research Economic Consultants in Indianapolis.