National Data | July Jobs: Displacement Returns With a Vengeance
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U.S. payrolls declined by 247,000 in July, the 19th consecutive month of job losses. The "good" news: it was the smallest monthly job loss in nearly a year, prompting pundits to spin it as a clear signal that the economy is emerging from the recession.

End of the recession? For whom?

The alternative employment survey, of households rather than business establishments, shows a decidedly bifurcated picture. While total employment declined modestly in July, non-Hispanics bore the entire decline. For Hispanic workers, July was one big job fair:

  • Total employment decline in July: -155,000 (0.11 percent)
  • Non-Hispanic employment: -277,000 (-0.23 percent)
  • Hispanic employment: +122,000 (+0.62 percent)

Hispanic employment rose by 0.63 percent in July - the largest percentage gain since April; non-Hispanic employment declined by 0.23 percent.

Non-Hispanic employment has declined every month since April 2008.

July marked the second month running in which Hispanic and non-Hispanic employment moved in opposite directions - advantage Hispanics.

People on our side of the immigration debate saw it coming. They warned that the Obama stimulus would benefit occupations disproportionately manned by immigrants. The pattern of the past two months—with Hispanics gaining 150,000 positions and non-Hispanics losing 679,000 - seems to justify their "paranoia."

Over the long run, of course, the notion that immigrants displace native born workers is amply documented by the data. From January 2001 through July 2009:

  • Hispanic employment increased by 3,627,000 positions, or by 22.5 percent
  • Non-Hispanic employment fell by 1,362,000 positions, or by 1.12 percent,

The American Worker Displacement Index (VDAWDI) rose by 0.85 percent in July, on top of a 0.5 percent gain in June. VDAWDI is the ratio of Hispanic to non-Hispanic job growth, expressed as an index number, since January 2001.

VDAWDI is calculated like this:

  • For every 100.0 Hispanics employed in January 2001 there are now 122.5
  • For every 100.0 non-Hispanics employed in January 2001 there are now 98.9
  • VDAWDI equals 123.9 (=100 X 122.5/98.9)

VDAWDI peaked in September 2008, just before the bottom dropped out of the labor market. The onset of the Great Recession saw a sharp reduction in Hispanic job growth, both in absolute terms and relative to non-Hispanic growth. As a result, VDAWDI fell from 124.5 in September to 122.3 in May.

The last two months have seen a sharp break in the pattern. American worker displacement is back—as is evident in the right tail of the graphic:

The blue line tracks Hispanic job growth; pink non-Hispanic job growth; and yellow VDAWDI—the ratio of Hispanic to non-Hispanic job growth indices.

All lines start at 100.0 in January 2001.

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