National Data | September Jobs: Employment Growth Swamped By Immigration—American Worker Displacement Still High
October 11, 2011, 03:18 AM
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Payrolls swelled by 103,000 in September, about twice what economists were expecting. Yet their pessimism was still vindicated, for even the higher number failed to bring down the unemployment rate, which remained stuck at 9.1% for the third straight month.

In our last jobs report we estimated that immigration policy brings about 100,000 new workers into the U.S. each month. This includes green cards issued for working age arrivals plus visas issued for “temporary” workers, who often attain permanent resident status.

Job creation must exceed the 100,000 mark just to keep the unemployment rate stable. September barely managed that.

We can’t resist shouting: WE TOLD YOU SO.

(Note that the “other” employment survey—of Households—found a comparatively robust 398,000 jobs created last month. But you don’t see the Household Survey cited much, because many economists have concluded it is not as reliable an indicator as the Payroll Survey. The Household Survey has diverged from the Payroll Survey in the past amid general bafflement—except at VDARE.com, where we pointed out this was probably because the Household Survey picks up the off-the-books employment of illegal aliens. However, the Household Survey alone has data on ethnicity and nativity.)

VDARE.com has been monitoring immigrant displacement of native-born American workers since 2004, when we unveiled our VDARE.com American Worker Displacement Index (VDAWDI). At that time, the federal government did not publish data on worker by country of origin. So we used Hispanic employment as a convenient proxy, since almost 40% of Hispanics were foreign-born.

But in January 2010, the Bureau of Labor Statistics [BLS] began publishing monthly job figures for immigrant and native-born workers. (Unfortunately, these data are not seasonally adjusted, making month to month trends difficult to interpret. BLS resolves the dilemma by comparing the current month with the same month of the prior year.)

This has enabled us to construct what we call “New VDARE.com American Worker Displacement Index”  [NVAWDI]. We set native-born and immigrant employment when President Obama assumed office in January 2010 at 100 each. We then take the ratio of immigrant to native-born employment growth and multiply by 100.

NVDAWDI now stands at 102.3/97.8 which multiplied by 100 equals 104.6.

VDAWDI September 2011

In words: immigrant displacement of native-born American workers has increased by 4.6% under Obama.

There are no straight lines in nature or in economics, however. As it happens, September was the fourth consecutive month in which native-born American workers gained jobs at a faster clip than immigrants when compared to the same month of the prior year: 

Employment Status by Nativity, Sept. 2010-Sept. 2011

(numbers in 1000s; not seasonally adjusted)

 

Sep-10

Sep-11

Change

% Change

Foreign born, 16 years and older

Civilian population

36,097

36,657

560

1.6%

Civilian labor force

24,488

24,447

-41

-0.2%

     Participation rate (%)

67.8%

66.7%

-1.1%

-1.6%

Employed

22,226

22,224

-2

0.0%

Employment/population %

61.6%

60.6%

-1.0%

-1.6%

Unemployed

2,262

2,222

-40

-1.8%

     Unemployment rate (%)

9.1%

9.1%

0.0%

0.0%

Not in labor force

11,609

12,210

601

5.2%

 

Native born, 16 years and older

Civilian population

202,225

203,415

1,190

0.6%

Civilian labor force

129,366

129,575

209

0.2%

     Participation rate (%)

64.0%

63.7%

-0.3%

-0.5%

Employed

117,488

118,277

789

0.7%

Employment/population %

58.1%

58.1%

0.0%

0.0%

Unemployed

11,878

11,298

-580

-4.9%

     Unemployment rate (%)

9.2%

8.7%

-0.5%

-5.4%

Not in labor force

72,859

73,839

980

1.3%

Source: BLS, "The Employment Situation - September 2011," October 7, 2011. Table A-7.

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Over the past 12 months:

  • Immigrants lost 2,000 jobs, a reduction of less than 0.1%; native-born workers gained 789,000 positions, an 0.7% increase. ADVANTAGE NATIVES
  • The unemployment rate for natives fell by 0.5 percentage points; the rate for immigrants was unchanged. ADVANTAGE NATIVES
  • Labor force participation rates fell by 1.1 percentage points for immigrants and 0.3 percentage points for natives. ADVANTAGE NATIVES
  • The share of immigrants holding jobs fell by 1.0% points; the share of natives holding jobs was unchanged  ADVANTAGE NATIVES
  • The immigrant working age population increased by 1.6%; the comparable native population increased by 0.6%. ADVANTAGE IMMIGRANTS

The New VDAWDI peaked at 107.0 in June 2010. Its subsequent decline reflects both increased unemployment among legal immigrants as well as the return of many unemployed illegal aliens to Mexico.

This outflow has not been large enough to offset the influx of legal immigrants, however. As a result, the foreign-born population of working age (16 and over) stood at a record 36.7 million in September. These folks will dampen native employment growth when (if?) the economy rebounds.

What about our old VDAWDI?  We continue to follow it as part of our new series, in which we report the racial distribution of employment growth in the U.S.

Again, September was one of those rare months in which non-Hispanic job growth edged out that of Hispanics:

  • Total employment rose 398,000 (+0.29  percent)
  • non-Hispanic employment rose 341,000 (+0.29 percent)
  • Hispanic employment rose 57,000 (+0.28 percent)

 

The virtual dead-heat kept our old VDAWDI at 128.6, the record level reached in August 2011:

VDAWDI September 2011

In words:

  • For every 100 Hispanics working in the U.S. in January 2001 there were an astounding 126.5 working this September.
  • For every 100 non-Hispanics working in January 2001 there were a mere 98.3 working in September.

 

Is this why we’re celebrating “Hispanic Heritage Month”?

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

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