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November's Downside: Record American Worker Displacement
The U.S. labor market improved in November, the Labor Department reported Friday, with the unemployment rate falling back to 10% and job losses shrinking to the lowest level in nearly two years. Nonfarm payrolls dropped by a seasonally adjusted 11,000 in November, the fewest since December 2007.
The "other"Â job survey, of households rather than businesses, indicates an even sharper turn for the better, with 227,000 jobs created. November's job pop was only the third monthly employment rise since the onset of recession in December 2007.
The bad news: the gains were not distributed evenly. Among demographic groups, there was a drop of 0.7 percentage points in the unemployment rate for black women. However, the unemployment rate for black teens jumped to 49.4% from 41.3% in October. Only 14.0% of black teens were employed in November - an all-time low.
The unemployment rate for Hispanics fell by 0.4 percentage points, double the 0.2 percent point decline for Whites and Asians. Black unemployment, while significantly higher than that of any other race, declined by just 0.1 percentage point, to 15.6%.
The relatively poor showing of Blacks may be linked to a sharp influx of their closest competitors-Hispanic immigrants. Here are the relevant demographic details as reported in the November employment survey: [PDF]
- Total employment: +227,000 (+0.16 percent)
- Non-Hispanic employment +88,000 (+0.07 percent)
- Black male employment: +41,000 (+0.03 percent)
- Hispanic employment: +139,000 (+0.71 percent)
Sixty-one percent of jobs created in November went to Hispanics. By comparison, Hispanics account for only 14.2% of total U.S. employment.
In percentage terms, Hispanic employment growth in November outpaced non-Hispanic employment growth by more than ten-fold (0.71 percent versus 0.07 percent). This merely continues a long-term trend:
Since January 2001:
- Hispanic employment increased by 3,576,000 positions (+ 22.2 percent)
- Non-Hispanic employment fell by 2,850,000 positions (-2.3 percent)
For years we have illustrated these divergent trends in VDARE.COM's American Worker Displacement Index (VDAWDI):
The black line tracks Hispanic job growth since January 2001; the pink tracks non-Hispanic job growth over that period, while the yellow, or VDAWDI, line tracks the ratio of Hispanic to non-Hispanic job growth. All lines start at 100.0 in January 2001.
VDAWDI hit a record 125.2 in November - easily surpassing its prior peak of 124.5 reached in September 2008. That was the month Lehman Brothers collapsed, starting the job market calamity. For far too many native-born workers, however, the good times will be short-lived. Displacement usually roars back with a vengeance during economic recoveries.
As of today Hispanic employment is the best monthly gauge we have of immigrant employment, because up to half of all Hispanics are immigrants. This sorry state of affairs is soon going to change-for the better. Starting with the January 2010 employment report (scheduled for release on February 5th) the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics is introducing a new table on foreign born employment.