National Data| February Jobs: Immigrant Employment Rose FOUR TIMES FASTER Than Native-born Employment Over Past Year

The U.S. economy gained 236,000 jobs in February, above what had been expected, while the unemployment rate fell to 7.7 percent, its lowest level since December 2008. But MSM reaction was somewhat muted, apparently because of fears of the sequester’s impact and because the labor force participation rate fell. (For example, see here and here).

Further context: 10.4 million native-born Americans were unemployed in February 2013 according to data in the just released BLS report. At 150,000 per month it would take about six-years to put them back to work.

Add to this the 77.5 million native-born Americans of working age who are not in the labor force—many dropping out rather than look for jobs they feel do not exist, and future labor force growth, and….we are on a treadmill to nowhere.

This is the labor market into with our bipartisan ruling class proposes to amnesty 12-20 million illegal aliens already here—as well as increasing legal immigration.

For context, about 90,000 legal immigrants arrive legally in the U.S. every month. That means more than one-third of all jobs created last month are needed just to absorb new legal entrants.

The “other” employment survey, of households rather than business establishments, reported a 170,000 job gain—somewhat less than the gains reported by businesses.

After January’s record displacement, February was one of the rare months in which the bulk of the new jobs went to native-born Americans. In February:

  • Total employment rose by 170,000, or by 0.12%
  • Native-born employment rose by 169,000, or by 0.14%
  • Foreign-born employment rose by 1,000, or by 0.01%

(My research shows that, for whatever reason, February is traditionally a month when immigrants lose ground relative to natives. In fact, immigrant job performance relative to the native-born was, if anything, better this year than in prior years:

Foreign-born Employment (millions)

 

Jan.

Feb.

% chg.

2009

21.647

21.213

-2.01%

2010

21.325

21.323

-0.01%

2011

22.203

21.846

-1.61%

2012

23.079

22.691

-1.68%

2013

23.368

23.369

0.004%

Foreign-born share of Total Employment (%)

 

Jan.

Feb.

% chg.

2009

15.22%

14.97%

-1.63%

2010

15.42%

15.38%

-0.26%

2011

15.94%

15.65%

-1.82%

2012

16.29%

15.97%

-1.96%

2013

16.30%

16.29%

-0.06%

Source: Author's analysis of BLS unseasonalized data.

 

(Last month was the first February since 2009 in which foreign-born employment rose. But the foreign-born share of U.S. employment, after declining by 1.82% and 1.96% in February 2011 and 2012, respectively, fell by only 0.06% this February. So, while displacement was reversed as usual last month, the magnitude of the reversal was nowhere near what had occurred in prior Februaries.)

That February is an anomaly is made clear in our New VDARE.com American Worker Displacement Index (NVDAWDI). It tracks native-born and foreign-born employment growth for every month since January 2009. 

National Data| February Jobs: Immigrant Employment Rose FOUR TIMES FASTER Than Native-born Employment Over Past Year

Native-born employment growth is the blue line, immigrant employment growth is in pink, and NVAWDI—the ratio of immigrant to native-born job growth—is yellow.

In charting American worker displacement we set both native-born and immigrant employment in January 2009 at 100.0. Since then:

  • Immigrant employment has increased 1.722 million, or by 8.0%. The immigrant employment index rose to 108.0.
  • Native-born employment has declined by 451,000 – or by 0.4%.The Native-born employment index fell to 99.6.
  • NVDAWDI rose to 108.4 (100X(108.0/ 99.6)

Since President Obama took office, native-born job losses are about one-quarter the immigrant job gains. Put differently, during the Obama years an average of one native-born worker has becoming unemployed per every four foreign-born workers added to the U.S. workforce.

From January to February of this year NVAWDI fell from 108.5 to 108.4—essentially unchanged amidst the long-term American worker displacement trend.

American worker displacement is also confirmed in the published figures for February 2012 and February 2013:

Employment Status by Nativity, Feb. 2012-Feb. 2013

(numbers in 1000s; not seasonally adjusted)

 

Feb-12

Feb-13

Change

% Change

Foreign born, 16 years and older

Civilian population

37,463

37,858

395

1.1%

Civilian labor force

24,826

25,242

416

1.7%

     Participation rate (%)

66.3%

66.7%

0.4%

0.6%

Employed

22,470

23,163

693

3.1%

Employment/population %

60.0%

61.2%

1.2%

2.0%

Unemployed

2,356

2,079

-277

-11.8%

     Unemployment rate (%)

9.5%

8.2%

-1.3%

-13.7%

Not in labor force

12,636

12,617

-19

-0.2%

 

Native born, 16 years and older

Civilian population

204,973

206,969

1,996

1.0%

Civilian labor force

129,288

129,486

198

0.2%

     Participation rate (%)

63.1%

62.6%

-0.5%

-0.8%

Employed

118,214

119,065

851

0.7%

Employment/population %

57.7%

57.5%

-0.2%

-0.3%

Unemployed

11,074

10,421

-653

-5.9%

     Unemployment rate (%)

8.6%

8.0%

-0.6%

-7.0%

Not in labor force

75,685

77,483

1,798

2.4%

Source: BLS, "The Employment Situation - February 2013," March 8, 2013. Table A-7. PDF







 

Over the past 12 months:

  • Immigrants gained 693,000 jobs, a 3.1% increase; native-born workers gained 851,000 positions, an 0.7% increase. ADVANTAGE IMMIGRANTS—immigrant employment grew four times faster than native-born.
  • The immigrant unemployment rate fell by 1.3 percentage points—or by 13.7%; native-born unemployment fell by 0.6 percentage points—a 7.0% decline. ADVANTAGE IMMIGRANTS—AND IN ADDITION:
  • The labor force participation rate—a measure of worker confidence—increased for immigrants and fell for natives. ADVANTAGE IMMIGRANTS
  • The number of native-born persons not in the labor force rose by 2.4%; the number of immigrants not in the labor force fell by 0.2% ADVANTAGE IMMIGRANTS

 

One final word: It’s very common for commentary in the MSM and the economics profession to compare job growth to population growth and deplore the implied slow reduction of unemployment. One commonly-cited source is the Hamilton Project’s interactive “Jobs Gap” calculator. But it continues to be extremely rare to see immigration factored although the data is readily available—and no-one (least of all the Liberal Establishment Hamilton Project) monitors it every month except VDARE.com.

This doesn’t make us happy, but it makes us unique.

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