Earlier: Labor Day 2020: Riots—But, Because Of Trump, The Immigrant Workforce Population IS Falling
Funny thing: The Main Stream Media seems not to have noticed just how powerful is the economic rebound revealed by August’s jobs data. A whopping 3.4 million new jobs were created according to the Household Survey. July’s gain was a mere 1.4 million by comparison. If the August gain is reprised over the next few months, we will return to pre-pandemic employment levels by the end of the year. Even better for American workers: The immigrant workforce population (legal and illegal—the data does not discriminate) fell again. It has now been declining for a whole year. All that is needed now: a permanent immigration moratorium to make sure the rebound benefits Americans.
Why the August job spike? The expiration of extra federal unemployment benefits at the end of July may have encouraged more people to return to work because they needed the money. The start of the school year could have played a role. And the ongoing economic recovery and slow relaxation of coronavirus restrictions (at least in non-Democrat states) probably contributed, too.
More good news: The unemployment rate fell to 8.4%, down significantly from 14.7% in April and 10.2% in July. This is a remarkable achievement—especially with labor force participation rates rising.
Unemployment rates fell for Blacks, Hispanics, and Whites, in August.
Still, for the second straight month immigrants have gained jobs more rapidly than native-born:
Accordingly, the New VDARE American Worker Displacement Index (NVDAWDI), our name for the ratio of immigrant to native-born American employment growth indexes since Jan. 2009, rose—to 111.5 in August from 110.6 in June.
Note that this displacement level is still low by historical standards. Not since May 2016 has VDARE.com’s Displacement Index been this low in normal—i.e., non-pandemic—times.
But the past two months might be a harbinger of things to come—a sign that the recovery from the pandemic is increasingly benefiting sectors like hotels and construction, where immigrants hold a disproportionate number of jobs.
July and August notwithstanding, the percentage job losses suffered by native-born American workers during Trump’s tenure are significantly less than those endured by immigrants. From January 2017 through July 2020 native-born Americans lost 6.3 million jobs, a 5.0% decline, while immigrants lost 2.2 million, an 8.5% reduction.
Thanks, in part, to Trump’s (relatively) hard line on immigration, expressed basically via administrative measures, the Trump years saw a labor market where native-born Americans lost relatively fewer jobs than immigrants.
This is not quite what Trump supporters had in mind in November 2016. But it’s something.
More good news for immigration patriots: August saw another decline in the foreign-born working-age population, year over year. It fell by 723,000 from August 2019—the 12th straight month of year-over-year decline. It seems to be accelerating: the population shrank by just 636,000 in July, year-over-year.
This current immigrant workforce decline is more than double that seen in the 2008 Great Recession. Back then immigrants were leaving at the rate of 300,000 to 400,000 a month, year-over-year. And it for exceeds the “Trump Effect” seen in the early months of the administration, when illegals apparently self-deported out of fear.
This decline was underway well before the pandemic hit. It has to be counted as a significant Trump achievement—a “Trump Triumph,” as we label it on our featured chart.
By further flushing out immigrants, COVID-19 seems to have accentuated an America-First trend already underway for some time—but it’s possible that immigrants may be about to return. Unemployed Americans need protecting by the institutionalization of President Trump’s administrative immigration moratorium.
Another way of measuring displacement: the immigrant share of total employment.
Our analysis of the August report shows the immigrant share rose to 16.68%, up slightly from 16.57% in July. As discussed above, it had been falling steadily before the pandemic started. In February 2020 immigrants held 17.53% of all jobs.
Each 1% decline in immigrant employment share represents a transfer of about 1.4 million jobs from immigrants to native-born workers.
A more detailed picture of how American workers have fared vis-à-vis immigrants is published in Table A-7 of the monthly BLS Report:
From August 2019 to August 2020:
In normal times about 300,000 working-age immigrants leave the country voluntarily. With immigrant job loses high in the pandemic, this number is undoubtedly larger today—but as economic recovery takes hold, they will try to return.
This presents Donald Trump with a great opportunity: He can lock in the recovery’s benefits for the American worker—and stem recent immigration’s damage to the GOP—if he acts on his instincts and imposes an immigration moratorium.
Unfortunately, whoever choreographed his convention was apparently unaware of this opportunity.
As usual, it’s up to Trump and his instincts on the campaign trail.
Edwin S. Rubenstein (email him) is President of ESR Research Economic Consultants.