National Data | November Jobs American Worker Displacement Slightly Down From Obama Era Highs—But Blacks (!) Hard Hit

The U.S. economy created 120,000 jobs in November, according to the monthly survey of business payrolls. Unemployment fell to 8.6%, its lowest level in more than two and a half years, sayeth the Household survey. Good news, at least by the standards of an economy that seemed to be in a recessionary death spiral in late summer.

But to put that in perspective: current immigration policy brings in around 100,000 new workers each month.

Drill down into the details, moreover, and today’s news is downright troubling. The lower jobless rate stemmed in large part from a decline in the size of the labor force. Some 315,000 people stopped looking for jobs last month, which usually denotes a lack of confidence.

Strikingly, black unemployment actually rose—to 15.5% from 15.1% in October—despite a big drop in black labor force participation. Hispanic unemployment held steady at 11.4% although they too exited the labor force. (VDARE.com will shortly post the second in my new National Data series monitoring the racial distribution of employment).

Household Survey employment rose by 278,000 in November–more than twice the Payroll Survey figure. We estimate that foreign-born employment rose by 14,000–a gain of 0.06% from October. The number of native-born with jobs rose by 264,000 – a 0.22% increase.

November was one of those rare months over which native-born gained jobs at a faster clip than immigrants. As a result our New VDARE.com American Worker Displacement Index (NVDAWDI), which compares employment growth of natives and immigrants during the Obama administration, declined slightly from the year-to-date peak reached last month. So slight it is barely perceptible in the NVDAWDI (yellow) trend line:

New VDAWDI November 2011

To calculate NVDAWDI, we set native-born and immigrant employment when President Obama assumed office [13] in January 2009 at 100 each. From that January through this November immigrant employment rose by 4.2%—pushing the immigrant employment index up to 104.2. Over the same period, native-born employment declined by 2.1%, putting the native employment index down to 97.9. We then take the ratio of immigrant to native-born employment indexes and multiply by 100.

Bottom line: NVDAWDI was 106.4 in November– or 100 times 104.2 divided by 97.9.

In words: immigrant displacement of native-born American workers has   increased by 6.4% under Obama.

As it happens, November was also a month in which native-born American workers gained jobs faster than immigrants when compared to the same month of the prior year: 

Employment Status by Nativity, Nov. 2010-Nov. 2011

(numbers in 1000s; not seasonally adjusted)

 

Nov-10

Nov-11

Change

% Change

 

Foreign born, 16 years and older

Civilian population

36,350

36,705

355

1.0%

Civilian labor force

24,788

24,696

-92

-0.4%

     Participation rate (%)

68.2%

67.3%

-0.9%

-1.3%

Employed

22,387

22,631

244

1.1%

Employment/population %

61.6%

61.7%

0.1%

0.2%

Unemployed

2,401

2,065

-336

-14.0%

     Unemployment rate (%)

9.7%

8.4%

-1.3%

-13.4%

Not in labor force

11,562

12,009

447

3.9%

 

Native born, 16 years and older

Civilian population

202,365

203,735

1,370

0.7%

Civilian labor force

128,909

128,987

78

0.1%

     Participation rate (%)

63.7%

63.3%

-0.4%

-0.6%

Employed

117,029

118,439

1,410

1.2%

Employment/population %

57.8%

58.1%

0.3%

0.5%

Unemployed

11,881

10,548

-1,333

-11.2%

     Unemployment rate (%)

9.2%

8.2%

-1.0%

-10.9%

Not in labor force

73,455

74,748

1,293

1.8%

Source: BLS, “The Employment Situation – November 2011,” December 2, 2011. Table A-7. PDF

 

Over the past 12 months:

  • Immigrants gained 244,000 jobs, a 1.1% increase; native-born workers gained 1,410,000 positions, a 1.2% increase.  ADVANTAGE NATIVE-BORN
  • The foreign-born working age population increased by 1.0%; the comparable native-born population increased by 0.7%. ADVANTAGE IMMIGRANTS
  • The unemployment rate for natives fell by 1.3 percentage points; the rate for immigrants fell by 1.0 points. ADVANTAGE NATIVE-BORN
  • Labor force participation rates fell by 0.9 percentage points for immigrants and by 0.4 points for natives. ADVANTAGE NATIVE-BORN

Our earlier method of estimating displacement, which we now call VDAWDI Classic, tracked Hispanic job growth as a proxy for immigrant employment. It confirms a November pause from the high rates of displacement experienced over the past decade:

Old VDAWDI November 2011

          In November 2011:

  • Total employment rose 278,000 (+0.20  percent)

  • non-Hispanic employment rose 323,000 (+0.23 percent)

  • Hispanic employment fell 45,000 (-0.22 percent)

Note that, overall, since the start of the recovery in June 2009, Hispanic employment has increased by nearly 950,000, or by 4.8%, while 404,000 fewer non-Hispanics have jobs—a decline of 0.3%.

Recovery? Not yet for native-born Americans—or non-Hispanics.

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