National Data | May Jobs: Adjusting For Immigration, Much Worse Than The Establishment (Liberal or “Conservative") Admits

 The May jobs report was worse than anyone had predicted. Only 69,000 jobs were created, making it the third successive month in which the U.S. economy failed to create enough jobs to absorb workers who lost jobs in the recession. We need 100,000 new jobs just to absorb the monthly influx of working-age immigrants, not to mention thousands of additional workers admitted on various temporary work visas.

Obama Administration partisans spin this as a seasonal downturn, similar to those we’ve had for the past several years, only made worse by 2012’s particularly warm winter. Republicans disagree.

But the fact is that these numbers are far worse than either side lets on. At VDARE.com, we’ve tracked an inexorable rise of immigrant employment relative to the native-born through all seasons, no matter good or how dismal the overall employment picture may be, since 2004. May was a perfect example of this pattern.

Note that the “other” employment survey, of households rather than businesses, reported a whopping 422,000 new jobs were created last month.

Good news? You bet, but not for U.S. natives.

Unlike the business survey, the household survey now reports workers’ country of birth. Our analysis of seasonally unadjusted household data finds foreign-born workers (the data do not distinguish between legal and illegal) took all the gains. In May:

  • Total employment rose 422,000, or by 0.30%
  • Foreign-born employment rose by 426,000, or by 1.89%
  • Native-born employment fell by four thousand, or by 0.003%

Monthly foreign- and native-born employment statistics first appeared in the monthly household employment survey a couple of years ago. (Prior to that, VDARE.com used Hispanic workers as a proxy to estimate American worker displacement.) The new data are not seasonally adjusted, so BLS compares the current month with the same month of the prior year. January 2009—the month Barack Obama was inaugurated—is also the first month of readily available data for native and immigrant employment.

Coincidence or not, this allows us to track monthly job growth (and destruction) for natives and foreign-born over the course of the Obama Administration.

In January 2009 native-born workers held 84.8% of all U.S. jobs.  Last month the native share slipped to 83.9%—a seemingly modest loss until you apply those percents to the 142 million plus individuals working in the U.S.  From January 2009 to May 2012 immigrant employment rose by 1.32 million, or 6.10%. Over the same period native-born employment fell by 1.25 million, or by 1.04%.

We graph the disparate native-born and foreign-born employment trends in our New VDARE.com American Worker Displacement Index (NVDAWDI).

May Jobs

The native-born employment growth line is black, immigrant employment growth is pink, and 

NVAWDI—the ratio of immigrant to native-born job growth—is yellow.

To calculate NVDAWDI we set both native-born and immigrant employment in January 2009 at 100.0. From that January to May 2012, the index of immigrant employment rose from 100.0 to 106.1, while the index of native-born employment fell from 100.0 to 99.0.  

Bottom line: NVAWDI was 107.2—or 100 times 106.1 divided by 99.0. May’s displacement index reading was the second highest since Barack Obama took office.

Continued American worker displacement is also confirmed by comparing the seasonally unadjusted figures for this May with last May:

Employment Status by Nativity, May 2011-May 2012

(numbers in 1000s; not seasonally adjusted)

 

 

May-11

May-12

Change

% Change

 

 

Foreign born, 16 years and older

Civilian population

36,348

37,504

1,156

3.2%

Civilian labor force

24,253

24,878

625

2.6%

     Participation rate (%)

66.7%

66.3%

-0.4%pt.

-0.6%

Employed

22,216

23,038

822

3.7%

Employment/population %

61.1%

61.4%

0.3%

0.5%

Unemployed

2,037

1,840

-197

-9.7%

     Unemployment rate (%)

8.4%

7.4%

-1.0%pt.

-11.9%

Not in labor force

12,095

12,625

530

4.4%

 

Native born, 16 years and older

Civilian population

202,965

205,462

2,497

1.2%

Civilian labor force

129,196

130,120

924

0.7%

     Participation rate (%)

63.7%

63.3%

-0.4%pt.

-0.6%

Employed

117,812

119,689

1,877

1.6%

Employment/population %

58.0%

58.3%

0.3%

0.5%

Unemployed

11,384

10,431

-953

-8.4%

     Unemployment rate (%)

8.8%

8.0%

-0.8%pt.

-9.1%

Not in labor force

73,769

75,342

1,573

2.1%

Source: BLS, "The Employment Situation - May 2012," June 1, 2012. Table A-7.

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Over the past 12 months:

  • Immigrants gained 822,000 jobs, a 3.7% increase; native-born workers gained 1,877,000 positions, a 1.6% increase.  ADVANTAGE IMMIGRANTS
  • The unemployment rate for immigrants fell by 1.0 percentage points; the rate for the native-born fell by 0.8 percentage points. ADVANTAGE IMMIGRANTS
  • The immigrant labor force (working or looking for work) advanced by 2.6%; the native-born labor force rose by 0.7%. ADVANTAGE IMMIGRANTS

The foreign-born working age population continues to increase nearly three-times faster than the comparable native-born population—3.2% versus 1.2% over the past 12 months.

With native birth rates down and illegal immigration arguably slowing, a reduction in legal immigration—ideally, an immigration moratorium—is the only way to bring American-born workers any relief.

Yet the topic is apparently verboten for all Establishment politicians and pundits—liberal or "conservative." Here’s the liberal Employment Policy Institute’s Heidi Shierholz, calling the May household jobs pop “somewhat more optimistic,” completely ignoring the immigration issue. (Ask why). Here’s a survey story (Economists consider what might repair job market, Jun 1 2012) by AP economics writer Christopher S. Rugaber doing exactly the same. (Ask Rugaber why).

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