National Data | February Jobs: The Beat(ing) Goes on

Native-born Hispanics were the big winners in the February jobs data, released on March 9. Immigrant displacement of native-born workers eased, but displacement over the entire Obama years to date remains close to record highs.

The economy added another 227,000 jobs last month, and January’s job gain was revised upward to 284,000, according to the business employment survey. Both figures exceeded the expectations of most economists. But the unemployment rate didn’t budge. It remained stuck at 8.3%.

 “Today’s employment report provides further evidence that the economy is continuing to heal from the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression,” intoned White House economic advisor Alan Krueger, [Email him] adding that “It is critical that we continue the economic policies that are helping us dig our way out of the deep hole that was caused by the recession….”

He’s been using the same line about healing from “the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression" since October 2011. [Cliché Watch: New Jobs Numbers, Same White House Message, Atlantic, March 9, 2012]

Reality check: Despite months of unexpectedly robust job gains 5.4 million fewer people were working last month than at the start of recession. The “other” employment survey, of households rather than businesses, puts the job shrinkage at 4.2 million.

The Household Survey is rarely headlined in the MSM. To do so would reveal inconvenient economic truths about differing employment rates by race, ethnicity, and nativity.  Only in the Household Survey can we see, for example, that Hispanic employment has increased by a 1.124 million, or 5.5% since the recession started in December 2007, while non-Hispanic employment decreased by 5.4 million, or 4.3% over the same period.

That’s right: as far as jobs are concerned, only non-Hispanics are in recession.

Last month we reported that an astounding 96% of new jobs went to Hispanics. In percentage terms, Hispanic employment grew 131 times faster than non-Hispanic employment.

After such an extreme move we expected to see a pull back in February. Surely non-Hispanics would catch up just a bit. Displacement would decline.

Alas, no such luck.

In February 2012:

  • Total Household survey employment rose 428,000 (+0.30 percent)
  • non-Hispanic employment rose 313,000 (+0.26 percent)
  • Hispanic employment rose 115,000 (+0.53 percent)

Hispanic employment grew at twice the rate of non-Hispanics. Put differently, Hispanics are 16% of the labor force—but they received 27% of the jobs created in February.

VDARE.com’s American Worker Displacement Index (VDAWDI), which actually compares Hispanic and non-Hispanic job growth since January 2001, tells the story. After spiking dramatically in January VDAWDI continued its seemingly inexorable rise in February.

February Jobs 1

We began looking at Hispanic employment as a proxy for our primary interest: the displacement of native workers by immigrants. At that time, the Federal government did not provide data on employment by nativity.

But since January 2009—the month Barack Obama took office—data on foreign- and native-born employment has been included in the monthly employment report. That means we can piece together the monthly points to track the long-term impact of Mr. Obama’s policies on native-born and immigrant employment.

We do that in our New VDARE.com American Worker Displacement Index (NVDAWDI).

February Jobs 2

NVDAWDI (the yellow line) fell in February, indicating that immigrants received a smaller share of the jobs created last month than in January—when they captured an amazing half of all net new jobs. In fact, our analysis of Household Survey data indicated a 1.7% reduction in foreign-born employment last month versus a 0.7% rise is native-born jobs.

Conclusion: native-born Hispanics are behind February’s rise in Hispanic employment.

Of course, one month does not nullify the Obama-era mega trend of immigrants displacing the native-born in the workplace—a trend traced by the New VDAWDI.

To calculate NVDAWDI we set native-born and immigrant employment when President Obama assumed office in January 2009 at 100 each. From that January to this February immigrant employment rose by 4.8%—pushing the immigrant employment index up to 104.8. Over the same period native born employment declined by 1.0%, reducing the native employment index to 99.0. We then take the ratio of immigrant to native-born employment indexes and multiply by 100.

Bottom line: the January 2012 NVDAWDI is 105.9 – or 100 times 104.8 divided by 99.0.

Resurgent American worker displacement is also confirmed by comparing the seasonally unadjusted figures for February 2011 and February 2012:

Employment Status by Nativity, Feb. 2011-Feb. 2012

(numbers in 1000s; not seasonally adjusted)

 

Feb-11

Feb-12

Change

% Change

 

Foreign born, 16 years and older

Civilian population

36,026

37,463

1,437

4.0%

Civilian labor force

23,958

24,826

868

3.6%

     Participation rate (%)

66.5%

66.3%

-0.2%

-0.3%

Employed

21,614

22,470

856

4.0%

Employment/population %

60.0%

60.0%

0.0%

0.0%

Unemployed

2,344

2,356

12

0.5%

     Unemployment rate (%)

9.8%

9.5%

-0.3%

-3.1%

Not in labor force

12,068

12,636

568

4.7%

 

Native born, 16 years and older

Civilian population

202,825

204,973

2,148

1.1%

Civilian labor force

128,676

129,288

612

0.5%

     Participation rate (%)

63.4%

63.1%

-0.3%

-0.5%

Employed

116,478

118,214

1,736

1.5%

Employment/population %

57.4%

57.7%

0.3%

0.5%

Unemployed

12,198

11,074

-1,124

-9.2%

     Unemployment rate (%)

9.5%

8.6%

-0.9%

-9.5%

Not in labor force

74,148

75,685

1,537

2.1%

Source: BLS, "The Employment Situation - February 2012," March 9, 2012. Table A-7.

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Over the past 12 months:

  • Immigrants gained 856,000 jobs, a 4.0% increase; native-born workers gained 1,736,000 positions, a 1.5% increase.  ADVANTAGE IMMIGRANTS
  • The foreign-born working age population increased by 4.0%; the comparable native population increased by 1.1%. ADVANTAGE IMMIGRANTS
  • The unemployment rate for immigrants fell by 0.3 percentage points; the rate for immigrants fell by 0.9 percentage points. ADVANTAGE NATIVES
  • The immigrant labor force (people working or looking for work) increased by 3.6%; the native-born labor force increased by 0.5%. ADVANTAGE IMMIGRANTS
  • Labor force participation rates fell by 0.2 percentage points for immigrants and by 0.3 points for natives. ADVANTAGE IMMIGRANTS

You are beginning to hear about labor force participation from Establishment conservatives, because it is their way of minimizing the economy’s slow recovery.

But, needless to say, they never mention immigrant displacement of American workers. That would be the ultimate Political Incorrectness.

 

Edwin S. Rubenstein (email him) is President of ESR Research Economic Consultants in Indianapolis.