National Data | October Jobs: Even Worse Than the Headlines—Immigration Moratorium Now!
Print Friendly and PDF

Looked at in detail, today's unemployment numbers give even more reason to ask Peter Brimelow's question: "Where are the calls for an immigration moratorium?") Rumors that the recession is dead are exaggerated. Payrolls dropped by a seasonally adjusted 190,000 in October, bringing to total number of jobs lost in the recession to 7.3 million. It was the 22nd straight month of employment decline. The "other" employment survey - of households rather than business establishments - registered a gut wrenching job loss of 589,000. The household survey is used to calculate the national unemployment rate - which hit 10.2 percent in October. Both surveys show a growing disconnect between GDP, which grew at a 3.2% annual rate in the third quarter, and the job market. Not to worry, economists say: employment is a lagging indicator. The great unanswered question: is it different this time? Is the lag longer? Or, put differently, are the job/GDP linkages of past recessions irrelevant in our increasingly globalized, open-border economy? From our perspective, the displacement of native-born workers by low-wage immigrants could easily disrupt the historical nexus between GDP and jobs. American worker displacement stalled at near record levels in October, as Hispanics and non-Hispanics lost jobs at identical rates:

  • Total employment: -589,000 (-0.43 percent)
  • Non-Hispanic employment: -519,000 (-0.43 percent)
  • Hispanic employment: -70,000 (-0.43 percent)

The October draw comes on the heels of a month in which Hispanic employment rose by 192,000 and non-Hispanics lost nearly 1 million jobs. Non-Hispanic employment has declined every month since April 2008. Over the longer run, of course, national employment trends are overwhelmingly tipped in favor of Hispanics. From January 2001 through October 2009:

  • Hispanic employment increased by 3,437,000 positions (+ 21.3 percent)
  • Non-Hispanic employment fell by 2,938,000 positions (-2.4 percent)

For years we have illustrated these divergent trends in's American Worker Displacement Index (VDAWDI):

The black line tracks Hispanic job growth; the pink non-Hispanic job growth; and the yellow line VDAWDI - the ratio of Hispanic to non-Hispanic job growth. All lines start at 100.0 in January 2001. In October VDAWDI rose to 124.3, up slightly from September's 124.2. The October index is calculated like this:

  • For every 100.0 Hispanics employed in January 2001 there are now 121.3
  • For every 100.0 non-Hispanics employed in January 2001 there are now 97.5
  • VDAWDI equals 124.3 (=100 X 121.3/97.5)

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. But in recent months GDP and VDAWDI have both rebounded. Could a resurgent VDAWDI derail the much anticipated job recovery? Stay tuned.

Print Friendly and PDF