National Data: Right In Time For Obamnesty Debate, December Jobs Data Shows Immigrant Displacement Of American Workers Still At Record Levels
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Is it the best of times? Is it the worst of times? Yes. And yes. (Apologies to Dickens notwithstanding.).

Capping the best year for the job market since the recession began eight years ago, employers added 252,000 jobs in December 2014. It was the eleventh month in a row that employment rose more than 200,000—the longest such streak since 1995. Of course, thanks mainly to immigration, U.S. population is considerably larger now than it was in 1995. So in percentage terms this job figure is not remarkable.

But for native-born Americans, the headline-grabbing job performance of recent years is a cruel joke. All of the net gains in jobs since 2007 have gone to legal and illegal immigrants. Which means that fewer native-born Americans are working today than were at the end of 2007.

At, we have tracking been tracking this immigrant displacement of American workers every month since 1994. Our findings have been recently confirmed by a new report [PDF]from the Center for Immigration Studies—although CIS, following its usual uncouth practice, does not acknowledge our priority.(See “Shock Study”–CIS, DRUDGE, And NRO Repeat What Has Been Saying For Years.)

Even the MSM senses an underlying malaise in the job market:

One of the major disappointments in the jobs report was the data on wages in December. Average hourly earnings fell 0.2%—against forecasts for a rise of 0.2%—to slow the year-on-year gain to 1.7%. That was the first drop since July 2013…”

Average hourly earnings fell for first time since July 2013, By Steve Goldstein, MarketWatch, January 9, 2015

Any reasonable explanation for the “first drop” in year-over-year wages since July 2013 must include the trend shown in the following:


In December 2014 the immigrant share of total employment was 16.91%. That’s the third-highest recorded during the 72-months in which Barack Obama has been chief executive. (It dropped from November’s 17.00%; the Obama-era high, 17.03%, was set in September.)

Immigrants predominate in menial, low-wage jobs which many Americans would gladly fill if given a chance. Low wages are better than no wages. But employers have no scruples when it comes to hiring the easy exploitable—often illegal—newcomers.

With total employment running at about 147 million, every one percentage point gain in the immigrant employment share translates to as many as 1.47 million fewer native-born workers. From February 2009—Obama’s first full month in office—to December 2014 the immigrant share of total employment rose from 14.97% to 16.91%—a gain of 1.94 percentage points. This implies that as many as 2.85 million (1.94 multiplied by 1.47 million) native-born Americans may have lost jobs due to immigration.

Total employment rose 111,000 in December according to the Household Employment Survey—a figure less than half the job growth reported by the more widely-cited Payroll Survey. December was one of the rare months in which native-born American workers gained jobs while immigrants lost them:

In December:

  • Total employment rose by 111,000 or by 0.08%
  • Native-born American employment rose by 229,000 or by 0.10%
  • Foreign-born employment fell by 118,000 or by 0.47%
Of course, December’s anomaly does not change the long-term trend. Never during the Obama years have American workers been as whiplashed by immigrants as they were over the past few months. The displacement pushed our New American Worker Displacement Index (NVDAWDI) to record highs in the third and fourth quarters of 2014:


Native-born American employment growth is the black line, immigrant employment growth is in pink, and NVDAWDI—the ratio of immigrant to native-born American job growth—is in yellow. The index starts at 100.0 for both immigrants and native-born Americans in January 2009, and tracks their employment growth since then.

From January 2009 to December 2014:

  • Foreign-born employment rose by 3.286 million, or by 15.2%. The immigrant employment index rose from 100.0 to 115.2.
  • Native-born American employment rose by 1.935 million or by 1.6%. The native-born American employment index rose from 100.0 to 101.6.
  • NVDAWDI (the ratio of immigrant to native-born American employment growth indexes) rose from 100.0 to 113.4 (100X(115.2/101.6)
The rise in NVDAWDI traces the rise in the immigrant share of total U.S. employment.

A more detailed snapshot of American worker displacement over the past year is seen in Household Survey data published in the monthly job report:

Employment Status by Nativity, Dec. 2013-Dec. 2014(numbers in 1000s; not seasonally adjusted)
  Dec-13 Dec-14 Change % Change
  Foreign born, 16 years and older
Civilian population 38,481 39,896 1,415 3.7%
Civilian labor force 25,429 26,286 857 3.4%
       Participation rate (%) 66.1% 65.9% -0.2% -0.3%
Employed 23,787 24,890 1,103 4.6%
Employment/population % 61.8% 62.4% 0.6% 1.0%
Unemployed 1,642 1,396 -246 -15.0%
Unemployment rate (%) 6.5% 5.3% -1.2% -18.5%
Not in labor force 13,052 13,610 558 4.3%
Native born, 16 years and older
Civilian population 208,264 209,131 867 0.4%
Civilian labor force 126,979 129,235 2,256 1.8%
       Participation rate (%) 61.9% 61.8% -0.1% -0.2%
Employed 120,636 122,300 1,664 1.4%
Employment/population % 57.9% 58.5% 0.6% 1.0%
Unemployed 8,342 6,936 -1,406 -16.9%
Unemployment rate (%) 6.5% 5.4% -1.1% -16.9%
Not in labor force 79,286 79,896 610 0.8%
Source: BLS, The Employment Situation - November 2014, Table A-7, January 9, 2015.
Over the past 12 months:
  • Immigrant employment rose by 1.103 million, a 4.6% increase; U.S.-born employment rose by 1.664 million, up by 1.4%. IMMIGRANT EMPLOYMENT GREW THREE-TIMES FASTER THAN NATIVE-BORN EMPLOYMENT
  • The civilian labor force—the number of individuals working or looking for work—rose by 3.4% for immigrants and 1.8% for native-born Americans. ADVANTAGE IMMIGRANTS
  • Unemployment rates fell 1.2 percentage points for immigrants and 1.1 percentage points for native-born Americans; at 5.3%, the immigrant unemployment rate is slightly below that of native-born Americans (5.4%)
Once again there is this extraordinary differential between foreign-born and native-born population growth. From December 2013 to December 2014 the foreign-born population of working age grew by 1.42 million, or by 3.7%, the comparable native-born American population rose by 867,000—a gain of just 0.4%.

Extrapolating these growth rates we find that the foreign-born population of working-age will double in about 19.5 years. It will take 180 years for the native-born population to match that. By then, of course, immigrants will dominate the U.S. workforce.

More troubling still is the gap between the foreign-born working-age population growth (reported by BLS to be 1.42 million over the past 12 months) and the number of immigrants of all ages admitted legally, which has been running at about 1 million per year according to Homeland Security data.

Obvious implication: A strong U.S. job market is drawing illegals into country.

Not to worry: President Obama has announced an unconstitutional Executive Amnesty giving legal status and work permits to millions of illegal im­migrants—what calls “Obamnesty.”. The GOP Congressional leadership may, or may not, attempt to stop him next week.

What’s obviously needed is an immigration moratorium. But a bipartisan coalition in Congress, and the president, are blindly committed to efforts to increase the level of legal immigration, such as Senate Bill 744 that passed that chamber last year.

It doesn’t look like this will end well.

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

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