National Data: July Employment Data Again Suggests Illegal Immigration Surging—When Will MSM Notice?
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Immigrant displacement of American workers seems in remission for the second straight month—but there’s more disturbing evidence that illegal immigration is surging again.

The economy pumped out another 215,000 new jobs in July, about in line with expectations. While the unemployment remained at 5.3% —the lowest level in more than seven years—wages remain stuck on a slow treadmill.

The average hourly wage paid to American workers rose 0.2% in July; over the past 12 months wages have risen a mediocre 2.1% versus the 3% to 4% typical at this stage in previous recoveries. Chamber of Commerce types love this, of course, and love the surge of foreign-born workers that keeps wages low. Immigration-related wage stagnation arguably hurts more native-born American workers than immigration-related unemployment. Except for academic treatises (think George Borjas) the data aren’t available.

Job growth as reported by the “other” employment survey, of households rather than businesses, was a dismal 101,000.

Unusually, and for the second month in a row, all the new jobs went to native-born American workers

In July:

  • Total employment rose by 101,000 – up by 0.1%
  • Native-born American employment rose by 202,000 – up by 0.2%
  • Immigrant employment fell by 101,000 – down by 0.4%
There are no straight lines in nature, and anomalies happen occasionally—for example, December 2013—January 2014 and December 2014-January 2015. It may just be statistical noise. But the underlying trend has remained intact: native-born American workers have lost ground to their immigrant competitors throughout the Obama years. This is made clear in our New American Worker Displacement Index (NVDAWDI) graphic:

Native-born American employment growth is 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 for both immigrants and native-born Americans in January 2009, and tracks their employment growth since then.

From January 2009 to July 2015:

  • Foreign-born employment rose by 2.918 million, up 13.5%. The immigrant employment index rose from 100.0 to 113.5.
  • Native-born American employment rose by 3.499 million or by 2.9%. The native-born American employment index rose from 100.0 to 103.1.
  • NVDAWDI (the ratio of immigrant to native-born employment growth indexes) rose from 100.0 to 110.1. (100X(113.5/103.1)
July’s New American Worker Displacement Index (NVDAWDI) level—110.1—was the lowest in 12 months.

The key displacement metric is the immigrant share of total U.S. employment. In Barack Obama’s first full month in office (February 2009) 14.97% of all persons working in the U.S. were foreign-born, according to that month’s Household Employment Survey. Since then the foreign-born share has risen steadily, albeit erratically:

The foreign-born share of U.S. employment fell to 16.50% in July, down from 16.58% in June and 16.81% in May. But in only 14 of the 79 months of Obama’s Presidency have immigrant workers accounted for a greater share of U.S. employment than they did last month.

July’s immigrant employment share was 1.53 percentage points above the level recorded at the start of Mr. Obama’s administration—i.e. it has risen by 10.2 percent.

(This of course does not take account of the immigrants’ American-born children, who are increasingly entering the workforce. I will look at this issue in a future National Data).

With total employment at 148.84 million, every one percentage point rise in the foreign-born employment share translates to as many as 1,488,400 displaced native-born American workers. This means that Obama-era immigration may have pushed as many as 2.28 million (1.53 times 1,488,400) native-born Americans onto the unemployment rolls.

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:


Employment Status by Nativity, July 2014-July 2015(numbers in 1000s; not seasonally adjusted)
  Jul-14 Jul-15 Change % Change
  Foreign born, 16 years and older
Civilian population 38,475 40,135 1,660 4.3%
Civilian labor force 25,411 26,079 668 2.6%
     Participation rate (%) 66.0% 65.0% -1.0% -1.5%
Employed 24,082 24,710 628 2.6%
Employment/population % 62.6% 61.6% -1.0% -1.6%
Unemployed 1,329 1,369 40 3.0%
Unemployment rate (%) 5.2% 5.2% 0.0% 0.0%
Not in labor force 13,064 14,056 992 7.6%
Native born, 16 years and older
Civilian population 209,549 210,742 1,193 0.6%
Civilian labor force 132,162 132,448 286 0.2%
     Participation rate (%) 63.1% 62.8% -0.3% -0.5%
Employed 123,183 125,012 1,829 1.5%
Employment/population % 58.8% 59.3% 0.5% 0.9%
Unemployed 8,978 7,436 -1,542 -17.2%
Unemployment rate (%) 6.8% 5.6% -1.2% -17.6%
Not in labor force 77,387 78,293 906 1.2%
Source: BLS, The Employment Situation - July 2015, Table A-7, August 7, 2015.PDF

From July 2014 to July 2015:

  • The foreign-born labor force – the number of immigrants working or looking for work – rose by 2.6%, while the corresponding native-born labor force rose by 0.2%. The immigrant labor force grew 13 times faster than the native-born American workforce.
  • Immigrant employment rose by 628,000 million, or 2.8%; native-born employment rose by 1.8295 million, or 1.5%. In percentage terms, immigrant job growth was nearly twice native-born American job growth.
  • The Labor Force Participation rate, a sign of worker confidence, declined for both native-born Americans and immigrants. In percentage terms, the foreign-born decline (1.5%) was three-times that of the native-born (0.5%).
  • The native-born American unemployment rate fell by 1.2 percentage points, a drop of 17.6%, while the immigrant unemployment rates remained unchanged. Despite the drop, the native-born American unemployment rate, 5.6%, remains above the immigrant rate, 5.2%.
It’s bad enough that conventional commentary on the employment data almost never considers immigrant displacement of American workers. It’s even worse that it is failing to notice the disturbing evidence I’ve been reporting for months that a new illegal immigration surge is apparently underway. Thus once again, the July report estimates that the working-age immigrant population (16 and over) rose by 1.660 million over the past 12 months. That is well above the number of legal immigrants of all ages Homeland Security claims is entering.

Increased illegal immigration seems to be the only explanation.

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

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