American businesses added 151,000 jobs in January, sharply slower than December’s rate of gain but good enough to push unemployment to its lowest rate in eight years (4.9%.) Wages rose a robust 0.5%. Many economists attributed this to a “tightening” labor market, but there were other factors, including minimum wage hikes that kicked in in many states on January 1st.
The U.S. economy just witnessed the two best years of job growth—2014 and 2015, in that order—since 1999. But something doesn’t feel right. Real economic growth has been limping along at a 2.1% rate since the Great Recession ended. The problem: worker productivity is down. New workers are simply not producing as much as the older ones.
Mainstream economists attribute the productivity malaise to the shift of jobs out of manufacturing and mining, where capital per worker is high, to retail, health care, and other service industries that are notoriously labor intensive. Missing from the discussion: human capital—the capital embodied in education, work ethic, verbal skills, etc. An economy increasingly addicted to relatively cheap immigrant labor cannot hope to maintain worker productivity at historic levels.
The “other” employment survey, of Households rather than Employers, reported a whopping 615,000 job gain in January. This follows an equally impressive 485,000 gain the prior month.
And the news that you can only rely on VDARE.com to report: January saw a return to the long-term trend of immigrants displacing Americans in the workforce: Read more >>