National Data | September Data Shows Immigrants Displacing American Workers – Especially Blacks
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The U.S. economy shed 159,000 jobs in September, the worst showing since March 2003, the Labor Department reported Friday. (See BLS report here – pdf) Since the start of the year 760,000 payroll jobs have been lost – further evidence that Main Street businesses were shrinking long before their Wall Street counterparts.

But one man's recession can be another man's opportunity. Hispanic workers bucked the overall trend, their employment rising, their unemployment rate in decline. (Hispanics, heavily foreign-born are a proxy for immigrants, whom the Federal government does not identify in this survey).

Here is the September job action by ethnic group:

  • Total: -222,000  (-0.15 percent)

  • Hispanic: +79,000 (+0.39 percent)

  • Non-Hispanic -301,000 (-0.24 percent)

American workers became discouraged in September. More than 120,000 stopped looking for work and left the labor force. They are not counted as unemployed; as a result the national unemployment rate did not increase – remaining at 6.1 percent.

As with the job numbers, unemployment rates moved differently among various racial groups. The rate of Black unemployment soared to 11.4% in September from 10.6% in August. This came despite a whopping decline in Black labor force participation rates. Black employment fell by 360,000, or 2.3 percent.

Whites held their own, losing 42,000 jobs – a 0.04% decline. White unemployment remained at 5.4% of the white labor force.

The Hispanic unemployment rate declined in September, to 7.8 % from August's 8.0%.

More than one million (1,204,000) non-Hispanics have lost jobs since January, many of them displaced by low wage Hispanic immigrants. Hispanic employment rose by 211,000 over the same period.

Trends in Hispanic and non-Hispanic employment since the start of the Bush Administration are tracked the following graphic:


Since January 2001 Hispanic employment has increased by 4,413,000, or 27.4 percent, while non-Hispanic employment grew by 3,066,000, or 2.5 percent. 

The ratio of Hispanic to non-Hispanic job indexes, which we call VDAWDI (the American Worker Displacement Index), rose to a record 124.2 in September from 123.5 in August.

Neither the (reported) decline in illegal immigration nor the loss of more than one million jobs in the U.S. has staunched the rate at which Hispanics are displacing non-Hispanics in the workforce.

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

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