The July job growth figure—209,000—was tepid compared to the (revised) 298,000 reported in June. Of course, Wall Street likes a slowing job market, because it suggests the Fed will not withdraw its monetary medicine anytime soon, the stock market bubble will continue to inflate, making the rich richer and…well, you know. But the “other” job survey, based upon households rather than businesses, suggests that Main Street is already in a funk.
The Household Survey reports a sub-par 131,000 jobs were created last month, pushing unemployment (which is based on the Household Survey) up to 6.2%. To put this in context, remember that as many as 90,000 new jobs per month are needed to absorb the ongoing influx of one million or so immigrants allowed to enter each year. And that’s just the legal immigrants.
Our analysis of the Household data finds that foreign-born workers—legal and illegal—gained jobs at twice the rate of native-born Americans last month:
Native-born Americans employment growth is the blue line, immigrant employment growth is in pink, and NVDAWDI—the ratio of immigrant to native-born American job growth—is in yellow. The graphic starts at 100.0 for both native-born Americans and immigrant employment in January 2009, and tracks their growth since then.
From January 2009 to June 2014:
Though native-born Americans employment is somewhat higher now than it was at the start of the Great Recession, there are still fewer working-age natives holding a job in the first quarter of 2014 than in 2000, while the number of immigrants with a job is 5.7 million above the 2000 level.
The tendency for a strengthening economy to benefit foreign-born more than native-born American job seekers is evident in the “Employment Status by Nativity” table published in the July employment report:
|Employment Status by Nativity, July 2013-July 2014(numbers in 1000s; not seasonally adjusted)|
|Foreign born, 16 years and older|
|Civilian labor force||25,382||25,411||29||0.1%|
|Participation rate (%)||66.9%||66.0%||-0.9 %pts.||-1.3%|
|Employment/population %||62.4%||62.6%||0.2 % pts.||0.3%|
|Unemployment rate (%)||6.7%||5.2%||-1.5 %pts.||-22.4%|
|Not in labor force||12,559||13,064||505||4.0%|
|Native born, 16 years and older|
|Civilian labor force||131,814||132,162||348||0.3%|
|Participation rate (%)||63.4%||63.1%||-0.3 %pts.||-0.5%|
|Employment/population %||58.4%||58.8%||0.4 %pts.||0.7%|
|Unemployment rate (%)||7.9%||6.8%||-1.1 %pts.||-13.9%|
|Not in labor force||76,001||77,387||1,386||1.8%|
|Source: BLS, The Employment Situation - July 2014,Table A-7, August 1, 2014.PDF|
Over the past 12 months:
This is not an inevitable outcome, however. A sealed southern border and a sane policy on legal immigration can help shrink the army of unemployed American.
Or to put in another way: The Atlantic Magazine tweeted this graph, which, when you click through, includes a picture of President Obama.
2014 has been the best year for jobs growth by far since the crash http://t.co/GbBhiifdmn pic.twitter.com/xFFRQ78mCC
— The Atlantic (@TheAtlantic) August 1, 2014
Should Americans be saying “Thank you, President Obama?” No, they shouldn’t. The people who got the jobs—largely Hispanic immigrants—should be saying “Gracias, Senor Presidente!”
Edwin S. Rubenstein (email him) is President of ESR Research Economic Consultants.