Even the one ostensibly bad piece of news—a rise in the unemployment rate—had a silver lining. Unemployment rose from 4.9% to 5.0% in March because more people returned to the labor force, a sign of confidence in the labor market.
The devil was in the details—inconvenient details found only in the Household Employment Survey. March’s employment gain, 246,000 per the Household Survey, was even greater the Payroll Survey figure, the job gains went entirely to foreign-born workers a.k.a. legal and illegal immigrants
In March 2016:
Manufacturing was the biggest loser in March, shedding 29,000 jobs. NAFTA and other trade agreements—deals that Trump has pledged to rescind—are unquestionably a major reason.
American workers have lost ground to their immigrant competitors throughout the Obama years. We highlight this trend 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 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 March 2016:
The foreign-born share of total U.S. 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 March 2016 the foreign-born share was a record 17.077%.
That was up from February’s 16.920%, and also above the 16.891% recorded in March 2015. (Since employment data by nativity is not seasonally adjusted, comparisons with the same month last year may be more indicative of the real trend.)
Obama has been President for 87 months. But in none of those months have immigrants held a larger share of jobs than they did last month.
March’s immigrant employment share was a full 2.105 percentage points above the level recorded at the start of Mr. Obama’s administration. With total employment now at 151.3 million, each percentage point translates to 1.51 million workers. Implication: Obama-era immigration may have pushed as many as 3.18 million (1.51 million times 2.105) 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, March 2015-March 2016|
|(numbers in 1000s; not seasonally adjusted)|
|Foreign born, 16 years and older|
|Civilian labor force||26,328||27,029||701||2.7%|
|Participation rate (%)||65.5%||65.7%||0.2%||0.3%|
|Unemployment rate (%)||5.3%||4.8%||-0.5%||-9.4%|
|Not in labor force||13,870||14,119||249||1.8%|
|Native born, 16 years and older|
|Civilian labor force||129,990||131,825||1,835||1.4%|
|Participation rate (%)||61.9%||62.3%||0.4%||0.6%|
|Unemployment rate (%)||5.6%||5.2%||-0.4%||-7.1%|
|Not in labor force||79,892||79,795||-97||-0.1%|
|Source: BLS, The Employment Situation - March 2016, Table A-7, April 1, 2016.|
From March 2015 to March 2016:
Perhaps more important: the number of working-age immigrants rose by an estimated 950,000 since March 2015. That figure is close to the annual legal immigrant influx of all ages—possibly signaling renewed illegal alien penetration of the labor force, something I have been warning about for a year.
America’s post-1965 immigration disaster may be intensifying.