More than a million new jobs have been created in the U.S. so far this year. Despite the apparent end of the jobless recovery, President Bush's economic approval rating among likely voters hasn't budged. A recent analysis by the Pew Hispanic Center offers several possible explanations for the economic/political disconnect:
1. Non-voters Are Getting a Disproportionate Share of New Jobs. In the 12 months ended March 31st, the economy added a total of 1.33 million new jobs. (Table 1) During this period:
All in all, the share of new jobs garnered by non-citizens (28.5 percent) was three-times their share of the U.S. labor force (8.6 percent.)
2. Hispanics dominate the new job market. For a Republican, George W. Bush does fairly well with Hispanic voters (that is. merely terrible rather than utterly catastrophic). But his 31 percent share of the Latino vote in 2000 merely reinforces this reality: the Republican Party is fundamentally a white party. [See the analysis of demographics and political destiny by Peter Brimelow and myself:
With this in mind, the ethnic distribution of new jobs created over the past year does not bode well for Republican prospects: (Table 2.)
The last point is especially troubling for Republicans. This segment of the Hispanic population is: a) the most likely to vote, and b) the most likely to contain the acculturated, conservative Hispanics who voted for George Bush in 2000.
3. Real wages have stagnated for Hispanics and Non-Hispanics alike. (Table 3) Over the 2-year period ending in the first quarter of 2004:
What we see here is predictable: employers are shifting to newly arrived, often illegal, Hispanic immigrants who are willing to work for less than legal immigrants and natives.
The newly arrived immigrants depress wages for all racial groups, especially those they compete most directly with, i.e., other Hispanics.
This, of course, is exactly what Harvard economist (and Cuban immigrant) George Borjas has predicted.
Now it's happening.
[Number fans click here for tables.]
Edwin S. Rubenstein (email him) is President of ESR Research Economic Consultants in Indianapolis.