NATIONAL DATA: Weak September Jobs Growth—And Immigrants Get Most Of Them As Displacement, Immigrant Workforce Growth Surge.
10/08/2021
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[Research by Edwin S. Rubenstein]

Stein’s Law famously states that things that can’t go on forever don’t, and that seems to be finally happening with immigrant displacement of American workers. The subpar September jobs data released today took even Regime Media commentators by surprise ['Whoa!' CNBC Hosts Stunned by 'Real Low' Jobs Report, by Rudy Takala, MediaIte.com, October 8, 2021]. But more significantly from VDARE.com’s point of view—and eerily unmentioned in Regime commentary—it finally showed the dramatic increase in the immigrant workforce and in immigrant displacement of U.S. workers that the paralyzed labor market and Biden’s Border Rush would suggest.

The Labor Department’s September Job release found that employers added 194,000 jobs last month, a far cry from the 500,000 analysts expected. For the second straight month those analysts strained mightily to explain their big miss. Among the litany of excuses: “…strange statistical quirks around school reopening that caused the number of jobs in public and private education to fall by 180,000 in September” [The New Jobs Numbers Are Pretty Good, Actually,  by Neil Irwin, NYT, October 8, 2021]; Americans dropping out of the workforce due to burnout; challenges with child care; or their uncanny ability to live on pent-up savings or government benefits.

But wait. The “other” employment survey, of households rather than businesses, reported job growth of 526,000—more than twice as large as the figure actually reported by the business survey, although almost exactly what analysts were predicting for the business survey.

And the Household Survey reports immigration status (although it doesn’t distinguish between legal and illegal immigrants). Our analysis of the Household Survey indicates immigrant workers garnered more than 60% of the September job gains.

In September:

  • Immigrants (legal and illegal) gained 316,000 jobs, a 1.18% increase from August.
  • Native-born Americans gained 210,000 positions, a 0.17% gain from August.
  • Thus VDARE.com’s immigrant employment index, set at 100.0 in January 2009, rose to 123.6 in September from 122.1 in August, a 1.20% increase.
  • VDARE.com’s Native-born employment index rose to 105.3 in September from 105.1 in August, a rise of 0.17%.

This means that the New VDARE American Worker Displacement Index (NVDAWDI), our name for the ratio of immigrant to native-born American employment growth indexes since January 2009, rose to 117.4 in September 116.2 in August, a 1.03% increase for the month.

American Worker Displacement, as measured by NVDAWDI, is now higher than it was when Donald Trump was inaugurated in January 2017. After wild gyrations during his Administration, it finally fell, partly because of the pandemic and partly because of Trump’s Executive Actions. Now it may finally be resuming the relentless increases of the Obama years.

Total employment in September was about 5 million below the pre-pandemic high reached in February 2020. Significantly, however, despite 1.3 million unemployed immigrants reported in September 2021, the foreign-born working-age population expanded at a post-pandemic record, year-over-year:

Note carefully what this chart shows. Unlike our other charts, which show absolute values, this one compares each month to the same month of the prior year. So the immigrant workforce population grew by an astonishing 1.301 million in September 2021 compared to September 2020. The corresponding increases for July and August were 739,000 and 849,000, respectively. Obviously, this influx overwhelms job creation however measured.

In contrast, for most of 2020, the population of working-age immigrants declined year-over-year. This far exceeded the net exodus during the 2008 Great Recession, and the brief net exodus during Trump’s first year, when his mere presence seems to have jawboned illegals into fleeing.

The immigrant Workforce population started growing again only in December 2020—when the election results spurred a renewed invasion. Its full effect on displacement is only beginning to be felt.

Another displacement metric—the immigrant share of total employment—also rose to a post-pandemic high in September. Our analysis shows 17.410% of jobs last month were held by immigrants. Not since February 2020—the last pre-pandemic month—has the immigrant share been above that (17.528%).

Note that, after some gyrations, the immigrant share of employment had been falling steadily even before the pandemic started. But, again, the Trump gains have been wiped out and the immigrant share will resume its Obama Era upward march—unless the political climate changes again.

Each 1% rise in immigrant employment share represents a transfer of about 1.5 million jobs from native-born Americans to immigrants.

A more detailed picture of how native-born American workers have fared vis-à-vis immigrants is published in Table A-7 of the monthly BLS Report:

Employment Status by Nativity, Sept.2020-Sept.2021

(numbers in 1000s; not seasonally adjusted)

 

Sep-20

Sep-21

Change

% Change

 

Foreign born, 16 years and older

Civilian population

41,810

43,111

1,301

3.11%

Civilian labor force

26,712

28,100

1,388

5.20%

     Participation rate (%)

63.9

65.2

1.3%pts.

2.03%

Employed

24,419

26,816

2,397

9.82%

Employment/population (%)

58.4

62.2

3.8%pts.

6.51%

Unemployed

2,293

1,284

-1,009

-44.00%

Unemployment rate (%)

8.6

4.6

4.0%pts.

-46.51%

Not in labor force

15,098

15,012

-86

-0.57%

 

Native born, 16 years and older

Civilian population

218,933

218,654

-279

-0.13%

Civilian labor force

133,361

133,293

-68

-0.05%

     Participation rate (%)

60.9

61.0

0.1%pts.

0.16%

Employed

123,377

127,210

3,833

3.11%

Employment/population (%)

56.4

58.2

1.8% pts.

3.19%

Unemployed

9,983

6,083

-3,900

-39.07%

Unemployment rate (%)

7.5

4.6

-2.9%

-38.67%

Not in labor force

85,572

85,362

-210

-0.25%

Source: BLS, The Employment Situation, September 2021. Table A-7, October 8, 2021. PDF

 

         
 

    From September 2020 to September 2021:

  • Immigrant employment rose by 2.397 million, a whopping 9.82% gain, while native-born employment rose by 3.833 positions, a 3.11% gain. ADVANTAGE IMMIGRANTS.
  • Native-born American and foreign-born adult populations moved in different directions over this period. The working age population of immigrants rose by 1.301 million, by far the largest absolute rise, year-over-year, of Biden’s time in office. In percentage terms, September’s gain was 3.11%. By comparison, the native-born American working-age population fell by 279,000—a 0.13% decline, year-over-year. ADVANTAGE IMMIGRANTS.
  • Immigrant and native-born American labor forces (working or looking for work) also moved in diametrically different directions—rising 5.20%, year-over-year for immigrants, while falling by 0.05% for native-born Americans. ADVANTAGE IMMIGRANTS.
  • Labor Force Participation Rates [LPR] rose by 1.3% points, or 2.03%, for immigrants, and 0.1 % points, or 0.16%, for native-born Americans. While immigrant LPRs have historically been higher than native-born LPRs, the gap between them LPRs grew significantly: from 3.0% points last September to 4.2% points this September. Notably, even as expanded unemployment insurance benefits expired in early September 2021, there was no surge in participation in the labor force. This suggests that the end of extra generous job benefits may not be the silver bullet to end labor shortage woes that many business groups have argued it would be. ADVANTAGE IMMIGRANTS.
  • For most of the pandemic unemployment rates were higher for immigrants than native-born Americans. There are many reasons for this. Perhaps foremost among them: the low-wage jobs filled disproportionately by immigrants preclude remote employment. In September 2021 immigrant and native-born unemployment rates were identical, at 4.6%. ADVANTAGE IMMIGRANTS, THOUGH UNEMPLOYMENT RATES FOR BOTH GROUPS ARE WELL ABOVE PRE-PANDEMIC LEVELS.
  • 6.08 million native-born American, and 1.28 million immigrants, were unemployed in September; over the past 12 months the number of unemployed immigrants fell by 44.0%, while native-born jobless declined by 39.1%. ADVANTAGE IMMIGRANTS.

The one apparent positive: stellar wage growth, which rocketed up 4.6%, year-over-year, in September. President Biden actually cited this in his curiously complacent remarks on the report [The September jobs number was a big miss, but Biden sees ‘great progress’ in rising wages, lower unemployment rate,  by Christina Wilkie, CNBC, October 8, 2021].

But the problem: this wage growth was before adjusting for inflation, which apparently a whole generation of economic commentators and politicians have gotten out if the habit of thinking about. September’s numbers have not yet been released, but in August the Consumer Price Index increased 5.3% year-over-year [U.S. inflation coming off the boil as prices increase slowly in August,  by Lucia Mutikani, September 14, 2021].

This suggests that American workers may be losing ground in real terms even if employed—quite apart from the question of whether they are being displaced by foreigners.

Peter Brimelow [Email him] is the editor of VDARE.com. His best-selling book, Alien Nation: Common Sense About America’s Immigration Disaster, is now available in Kindle format.

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