Employers added 288,000 jobs in June, well above the average recorded in the first five months of 2014, and another sign that growth may be at last rebounding. The Labor Department also reported that the unemployment rate fell by 0.2 percentage points, to 6.1%, the lowest reading since things started to unravel in September 2008.
Not widely reported: Unemployment rates for immigrants have been below pre-Great Recession levels for months. In June only 5.3% of the foreign-born labor force was unemployed, compared to 6.5% unemployment among native-born Americans. If native-born Americans enjoyed the same low rate, 1.58 million more would have jobs today.
Even less widely reported: The labor force participation rate for immigrants (62.0% in June) was significantly above that of native-born Americans (58.0 %.) Higher participation usually brings higher unemployment rates because more people are looking for jobs. The low unemployment/high participation slant of immigrant labor is a boon to those already here—and a magnet for future foreign-born job seekers.
A whopping 407,000 jobs were created in June according to the Household Survey. Our analysis of the data finds that native-born American workers gained jobs at a faster pace than immigrants:
Source: BLS, The Employment Situation – June 2014, July 3, 2014.PDF
Native-born American employment growth is the blue line, immigrant employment growth is in pink, and NVAWDI—the ratio of immigrant to native-born American job growth—is in yellow. The graphic starts at 100.0 for both native-born and immigrant employment in January 2009, and tracks their growth since then.
From January 2009 to June 2014:
The economy may indeed be getting better. But if recent history is a guide, the beneficiaries will be overwhelmingly foreign-born—above all if anything like the Rubio-Schumer Amnesty/ Immigration Surge legislation is passed.
Edwin S. Rubenstein (email him) is President of ESR Research Economic Consultants.