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
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:
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)|
|Foreign born, 16 years and older|
|Civilian labor force||25,411||26,079||668||2.6%|
|Participation rate (%)||66.0%||65.0%||-1.0%||-1.5%|
|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 labor force||132,162||132,448||286||0.2%|
|Participation rate (%)||63.1%||62.8%||-0.3%||-0.5%|
|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:
Increased illegal immigration seems to be the only explanation.