National Data | Recession finally causing immigrants to self-deport—but job displacement remains massive
February 12, 2009, 04:00 AM
Print Friendly and PDF

The recession intensified in January, as the U.S. unemployment rate jumped to 7.6% and nonfarm payrolls fell by the largest amount in 34 years. Civilian nonfarm payrolls plunged by 598,000 – the most since 1974.

The Household Survey, which we argue reflects illegal alien employment, revealed an even bleaker loss: 1,239,000.  As has been the case for most of the past year, Hispanic employment fell more rapidly than non-Hispanic employment. (Because up to half of Hispanics are foreign-born, they are a proxy for immigrant employment.)

Here are the details, December 2008 to January 2009: 

  • Total Job decline: -1,239,000 (-0.9 percent)
  • Hispanic job loss: -296,000 (-1.47 percent)
  • Non-Hispanic job loss: -943,000 (-0.8 percent)

VDARE.COM's index of American worker displacement (VDAWDI) – reflecting the ratio of Hispanic to non-Hispanic job growth since January 2001 - fell to 122.2 in January, its lowest reading since March.

But during the course of  George W. Bush's eight-years, Hispanic employment rose by 3.68 million, or by 22.8 percent, while non-Hispanics eked out a 641,000, or 0.8 percent, gain.

The recent job market reverses for Hispanics are increasingly evident in our VDAWDI graphic—as is their longer-term displacement of American workers:


The January jobs report reflects new population estimates used by BLS in the household survey. Particularly revealing are the changes for December 2008:

Updated December 2008 Population Estimates by Race, Ethnicity

(numbers in thousands)





% Change





















Source: BLS, The Employment Situation, February 6, 2009. Tables A-1 and C. [PDF] 

Reflecting "…new information and assumptions about the growth of the population during the decade,"  BLS reduced its total population estimate by 0.21 percent, and its Hispanic population by five times that amount, or about 1.0 percent. The white population, which includes some Hispanics, fell the least—down by 0.13 percent.

The pattern suggests that, while all sources of population growth have declined over the past year, net international migration has fallen the most.

Fewer immigrants are coming in, and more may be going home.

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