National Data | March Jobs: Native-Born Americans Still Trail Immigrants In Obama-Era Employment Recovery

Payrolls expanded by 192,000 positions in March, beating the average for the miserable winter months, but still short of the rebound that many were expecting. With an average of about 90,000 legal immigrants entering the country each month, only 100,000 of this gain may be available for native-born Americans.

The math is depressing. In March more than 9 million native-born Americans were unemployed. At the current rate of job creation it will be 7.5 years before all these native-born unemployed find jobs. By then, of course, the population will be larger. And we haven’t even considered the millions who have avoided unemployment by dropping out of the labor force.

More depressing still: the absence of any MSM chatter regarding the unemployment-busting potential of an immigration moratorium.

One good March sign: the labor force participation rate (LPR) picked up slightly, suggesting that workers are being lured back into the job hunt as hiring expands. Even this positive may pertain to foreign-born workers only, however. As we point out below, over the past 12 months participation rates for native-born workers have declined. Only immigrants have a higher LPR this March than last.

The Household Employment Survey—the only report where immigrant and native-born American employment figures are broken out separately—found a robust 476,000 jobs were added last month. Our analysis indicates that native-born American workers gained jobs at virtually the same rate as immigrants.

In March:

  • Total  employment rose by 476,000, or by 0.33%
  • Native-born employment rose by 402,000 or by 0.33%
  • Foreign-born employment rose by 74,000, or by 0.31%

So native-worker displacement was on hiatus in March. As a result, our New VDARE.com American Worker Displacement Index (NVDAWDI) remained at its February level—109.4. But the displacement of native-born American workers by immigrants during the Obama years is still painfully evident in the NVDAWDI graphic:

April NVDAWDI

Native-born American employment growth is the blue line, immigrant employment growth is in pink, and NVAWDI—the ratio of immigrant to native-born American job growth—is in yellow. The graphic starts at 100.0 for both native-born American and immigrant employment in January 2009, and tracks their growth since then.

From January 2009 to March 2014:

  • Foreign-born employment rose by 2.271 million, or by 10.49%. The immigrant employment index rose from 100.0 to 110.5
  • Native-born American employment rose by 1,250,000 or by 1.04%. The native-born American employment index in February 2014 was 101.0, or 1 percent above the level of January 2009.
  • NVDAWDI (the ratio of immigrant to native-born American employment growth indexes) rose from 100.0 to 109.4 (100X(110.5/101.0)

A more detailed picture of American worker displacement, February 2013 to February 2014, is seen in seasonally unadjusted data published in the BLS monthly job report: 

Employment Status by Nativity,

March 2013-March 2014

(numbers in 1000s; not seasonally adjusted) 

 

Mar-13

Mar-14

Change

% Change

Foreign born, 16 years and older

Civilian population

38,106

38,557

451

1.2%

Civilian labor force

25,061

25,474

413

1.6%

     Participation rate (%)

65.8%

66.1%

0.3 %pts.

0.5%

Employed

23,197

23,811

614

2.6%

Employment/population %

60.9%

61.8%

0.9 %pts.

1.5%

Unemployed

1,865

1,662

-203

-10.9%

Unemployment rate (%)

7.4%

6.5%

-0.9 %pts.

-12.2%

Not in labor force

13,044

13,083

39

0.3%

 

Native born, 16 years and older

Civilian population

206,889

208,701

1,812

0.9%

Civilian labor force

129,451

130,154

703

0.5%

     Participation rate (%)

62.6%

62.4%

-0.2 %pts.

-0.3%

Employed

119,501

121,279

1,778

1.5%

Employment/population %

57.8%

58.1%

0.3 %pts.

0.5%

Unemployed

9,950

8,875

-1,075

-10.8%

Unemployment rate (%)

7.7%

6.8%

-0.9 %pts.

-11.7%

Not in labor force

77,438

78,547

1,109

1.4%

Source: BLS, The Employment Situation – March 2014, Table A-7, April 4, 2014. PDF

 

Over these 12 months:

  • Immigrants gained 614,000 jobs, a 2.6% increase; native-born American workers gained 1,778,000 positions, a 1.5% increase. ADVANTAGE IMMIGRANTS
  • The unemployment rate for immigrants fell by 0.9 percentage points—or by 12.2%; the native-born American unemployment rate fell by 0.9 percentage points—a 11.7% decline. ADVANTAGE IMMIGRANTS
  • The labor force participation rate—a measure of worker confidence—rose for immigrants and declined for native-born Americans. ADVANTAGE IMMIGRANTS
  • The number of immigrants “not in the labor force”—i.e., neither working nor looking for work, rose by 39,000, or by 0.3%; the number of native-born Americans not in the labor force rose by 1.109 million, or by 1.4%. ADVANTAGE IMMIGRANTS

But note that, according to the table, the foreign-born civilian population increased by 482,000 in the past year. This is far less than would be expected given the current legal influx of 90,000 per month.

Is the government understating foreign-born population growth? Is it understating foreign-born employment? Are native-born Americans being displaced at an even greater clip than the official numbers indicate?

We do not know. But it’s possible that things are systematically worse than even VDARE.com thinks.

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