National Data | Immigrant Job Displacement Resumes
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The U.S. unemployment rate jumped by a half percentage point to 5.5% in May on the biggest increase in seasonally adjusted unemployment in 33 years. (See the Labor Department report here.) The prospect of a short and shallow recession appears far less likely in light of the disappointing news. But May’s malaise was not distributed evenly: Unemployment rates for adult men (4.9%), adult women (4.8%), teenagers (18.7%), whites (4.9%), and blacks (9.7%) rose in May. The jobless rate for Hispanics (6.9%) was unchanged. The disparity between Hispanic and non-Hispanic employment trends was even more startling. Here are the Household survey figures for May:

  • Total Employment fell 285,000 (-0.19%)
  • Non-Hispanic employment fell 454,000 (-0.36%)
  • Hispanic employment rose 169,000 (+0.83%)

The Labor Department does not break out foreign born workers separately. But unpublished BLS statistics show that nearly 60 percent of Hispanic workers are foreign-born. For whites the foreign born share is only 4 percent, for blacks only 11 percent. (Immigrant shares are still lower for non-Hispanic whites and blacks.) Implication: the ratio of Hispanic to non-Hispanic job creation is a good measure of the displacement of native workers by immigrants.’s American Worker Displacement Index (VDAWDI), calculated as the ratio of Hispanic to non-Hispanic job growth indexes during the Bush years, skyrocketed to 123.8 in May — up 1.2 percent from April. Not since August 2007 has VDAWDI grown at a faster pace: Click to Enlarge The blue line tracks Hispanic employment growth; pink is non-Hispanic growth, and yellow the ratio of Hispanic to non-Hispanic job growth. Each starts at the same level — 100.0 — in January 2001. The subsequent differences reflect the two-tier economy of the Bush years. Since the start of the Bush administration (January 2001) Hispanic employment has risen by 4.46 million, or 27.6 percent. Non-Hispanic employment has risen by 3.82 million, or by 3.14 percent. This is particularly shocking when you consider that Hispanics are only 15.5 percent of the labor force. Yet they got 54 percent of jobs created.

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