National Data | May Jobs: Illegals Returning Home, American Blacks Gaining
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The economy lost 345,000 jobs in May, the government reported on Friday, a sharp slowing in the pace of job losses that fueled hopes that the economy was on its way toward stabilizing. (See the report:[PDF] ) The "other" employment survey, of households rather businesses, revealed a significantly larger job loss: 437,000. Total employment as measured by this survey is also significantly larger. In May, for example, the business survey found 132.2 million individuals were employed while the household survey put total employment at 140.6 million. The 8 million worker difference reflects, in large measure, illegal aliens who are counted in the household survey but missed when the government queries businesses. When times were good, and illegals crossed the border in even larger numbers than today, household survey employment rose faster than employment as reported by businesses. Over the past eighteen months that has changed: Employment as measured by the household survey has declined more rapidly than the employment per the more widely cited business survey. Are illegal workers heading home? The BLS report is mute on the subject, stating that "Neither the establishment nor household survey is designed to identify the legal status of workers. Thus, while it is likely that both surveys include at least some undocumented immigrants, it is not possible to determine how many are counted in either survey." The May employment figures are, in fact, consistent with the "Homeward Bound" scenario:

  • Total employment: -437,000 (-0.31 percent)
  • Non-Hispanic employment: -178,000 (-0.15 percent)
  • Hispanic employment: -259,000 (-1.30 percent)

Hispanic employment fell by 1.3 percent in May, nine-times the percentage decline in non-Hispanic jobs. Not surprisingly, the  Hispanic unemployment rate also deteriorated more than that of other groups:

  • U.S. unemployment rate: 9.4 percent (+0.5 point from April)
  • White unemployment: 8.6 percent (+0.6 point)
  • Black unemployment: 14.9 percent (-0.1 point)
  • Hispanic unemployment: 12.7 percent (+ 1.4 points)

Blacks, arguably the group competing most directly with illegal alien workers, were the only group to enjoy a lower unemployment rate last month. This may reflect the withdrawal of illegals from the labor force. The ratio of Hispanic to non-Hispanic job growth since the January 2001, expressed as an index that we call VDAWDI (the American Worker Displacement Index), declined 1.2 percent in May. Since peaking in September 2008, VDAWDI has declined by 1.7 percent. The recession has cut Hispanic job growth, both in absolute terms and relative to non-Hispanic job growth. This is evident in the VDAWDI graphic: The black line tracks Hispanic job growth; pink non-Hispanic job growth; and yellow the ratio of Hispanic to non-Hispanic job growth indices,—i.e., American Worker Displacement. All lines start at 100.0 in January 2001.

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