This news was in the “other” employment survey, of households rather than businesses. It marked the end of what we had speculated was a “Trump effect”—a two-month stretch during which native-born Americans gained jobs while immigrants lost them. Instead, the month of June saw a reversion to the old “Obama effect”—devastating jobs losses for native-born Americans amidst big gains for immigrant workers.
In June 2016:
By contrast, in April and May of this year immigrants lost a combined total of 660,000 positions, while native-born Americans gained 370,000—the largest rollback in American worker displacement during the Obama years.
Needless to say, the June data show that the major Obama Era trend, of Native-born American workers losing ground to their immigrant competitors, is still intact. We highlight this in our New VDARE.com American Worker Displacement Index (NVDAWDI) graphic:
Native-born American employment growth is represented by 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 in January 2009 for both immigrants and native-born Americans, and tracks their employment growth since then.
From January 2009 through June 2016:
During the Obama years, immigrant employment has risen 4.7 times faster than American employment—18.7% versus 4.0%. In many unskilled occupations, the job growth gap is far larger, owing to the disproportionate number of foreign-born workers in those sectors.
The key American Worker Displacement metric—the foreign-born share of total employment—has risen steadily, albeit erratically, throughout the Obama years:
In February 2009, President Obama’s first full month in office, 14.972% of all persons working in the U.S. were foreign-born. In June 2016 the foreign-born share was 17.008%. While that is down from the Obama-era record (17.077%, reached in March of this year) it is 3rd highest of the 90 months of Mr. Obama’s Administration.
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, June 2015-June 2016|
|(numbers in 1000s; not seasonally adjusted)|
|Foreign born, 16 years and older|
|Civilian labor force||26,100||26,936||836||3.2%|
|Participation rate (%)||64.7||65.6||0.9 % pts.||1.4%|
|Unemployment rate (%)||4.9||4.0||-0.9 %pts.||-18.4%|
|Not in labor force||14,241||14,119||-122||-0.9%|
|Native born, 16 years and older|
|Civilian labor force||132,183||133,198||1,015||0.8%|
|Participation rate (%)||62.8||62.7||-0.1 %pts.||-0.2%|
|Employment/population %||59.4||59.4||0.0 %pts.||0.0%|
|Unemployment rate (%)||5.6||5.3||-0.3 %pts.||-5.4%|
|Not in labor force||78,139||79,144||1,005||1.3%|
|Source: BLS, The Employment Situation - June 2016, Table A-7, July 8, 2016.|
A month ago we reported on two “mega changes” which, we hoped, could portend the turning of the immigrant tide: a diminution in the foreign-born population growth rate; and an actual decline in the foreign-born labor force.
June brought us back to reality: the foreign-born immigrant working-age population, which had grown at a slower rate than the comparable native-born population over the 12 months May 2015 to May 2016, outpaced the native-born by 80% in the June 2015 to June 2016 period. Similarly, the immigrant labor force grew 4 times faster than the native-born American labor force in the 12 months ending June 2016, after growing 27% less in the prior 12-month period.
Random noise bedevils all economic data, especially month-to-month readings. But our VDARE.com graphics, which now extend back 90 months show clearly that the long-term displacement trend is still intact.
American worker displacement is unlikely to end until a Trump-style immigration policy begins.
Edwin S. Rubenstein (email him) is President of ESR Research Economic Consultants.