National Data | November's Job Numbers: Good for immigrants; Bad for the Rest of Us
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U.S. job market sprang back last month from a  hurricane-induced  slowdown as nonfarm employers added 215,000 workers, according to the government's report on business payrolls.

But another report—the one based on a survey of households—reported a 52,000 job decline from October. More important, from our perspective, is the composition of that decline:


Thus non-Hispanics bore the full brunt of the November job decline, according to the Household survey.

To be sure, the Household survey is dismissed by MSM pundits as quirky and unreliable. Yet over the past the past year it has closely tracked the more widely cited Payroll Survey: Both surveys report that about 2 million jobs were created over the past 12 months. But only the Household Survey presents monthly job data by race and ethnicity.

Neither Survey asks about immigration status. (Memo to Bush Administration: why not direct them to add this useful question?). But because about half of the Hispanics in the U.S. are foreign-born, we use it as a proxy for immigrant impact on American workers.

Note this statistical wrinkle: the overall Hispanic unemployment rate rose to 6.0 percent in November from 5.8 percent the prior month. The black unemployment rate increased even more—to 10.6 percent from October's 9.1. The white unemployment rate fell slightly, to 4.3 percent from 4.4 percent.

The big difference, of course, was that Hispanics poured into the labor force (their labor force participation rate went up) while Blacks and whites retreated (their's went down.)

After taking labor force participation rates into account, the real increase in the black unemployed is larger, and the increase in the Hispanic unemployed smaller, than their respective unemployment rates indicate.

In a word, November's data paint a classic picture of Hispanics (and, by extension, immigrants) displacing and discouraging blacks and unskilled whites in American labor force.  It's a story we often tell in graphic form, as follows:

Since the start of the Bush Administration in January 2001 Hispanic employment has risen by 2.9 million, or 17.8 percent, while non-Hispanic employment increased by 1.9 million, or 1.6 percent.

The ratio of the growth rates, which we call VDAWDI (the American Worker Displacement Index) rose to a record 116.0 in November, from 115.0 the prior month.

Edwin S. Rubenstein (email him) is President of ESR Research Economic Consultants in Indianapolis.

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