National Data | December's Job Decline Hits Everyone, But Displacement Trend Intact
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Discouraging and depressing are not inappropriate descriptors of December's jobs data, just released. Employment slipped by 85,000 in December as employers let people go in what for many is the busiest month of the year. Unemployment held at 10.0 percent, mainly because more than 600,000 workers left the labor force entirely rather than look for jobs. (The unemployment rolls do not include individuals who are too discouraged to look for work.) In parallel, the Household Survey found a 589,000 job loss. This was the sixth largest monthly decline since the recession started in December 2007-and a sharp contrast from November's gain of 139,000. The Household Survey is particularly interesting because it canvasses people rather than large employers. People who work for small businesses, "off the books", or are self employed will show up in the Household Survey. That includes many illegal aliens. Here are the relevant demographic details as reported in the December Household Survey

  • "Total employment: -589,000 (-0.43 percent)
  • "Non-Hispanic employment -410,000 (-0.35 percent)
  • "Hispanic employment: -179,000 (-0.91 percent)

Thirty percent of those who lost jobs in December's were Hispanics. That is more than twice their share of the U.S. labor force (14.2 percent.) In percentage terms, Hispanic employment fell by more than twice the rate of non-Hispanic employment last month. Bad weather could easily explain the December results. The construction industry, a heavy employer of Hispanic labor, accounted for about 60 percent the national job loss as measured by the Payroll Survey. By comparison, only 4.5 percent of payroll jobs are in construction. For years we have tracked Hispanic and non-Hispanic employment in's American Worker Displacement Index (VDAWDI): The black line tracks Hispanic job growth since January 2001; the pink tracks non-Hispanic job growth over that period, while the yellow, or VDAWDI, line tracks the ratio of Hispanic to non-Hispanic job growth since that date. All lines start at 100.0 in January 2001. VDAWDI fell to 124.5 in December, down from the record high of 125.2 reached in November. Since the start of the recession (December 2007) Hispanic employment has declined by 4.8 percent while non-Hispanic employment has declined by 6.0 percent. The incentive to hire low-wage immigrants over unemployed natives may, if anything, be more pronounced in bad times. Over the longer run the displacement of native workers is painfully apparent. From January 2001 through December 2009:

  • "Hispanic employment increased by 3,395,000 positions (+ 21.1 percent)
  • "Non-Hispanic employment fell by 3,379,000 positions (-2.8 percent)

See if you can find this analysis anywhere in the MSM!

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