National Data | July Jobs: Immigrants Gain Jobs At Twice The American Rate
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Back down the Memory Hole—none of the Main Stream Media reports of the July job numbers released Friday factored in immigrant displacement of American workers, although the phenomenon caused a brief MSM sensation in June. President Obama was able to boast at his press conference about job growth without fear that anyone would point out that essentially all new jobs since 2000 have gone to immigrants. At, we’ve been patiently reporting displacement every month since 2004. This month’s news: it’s back in full force.

The July job growth figure—209,000—was tepid compared to the (revised) 298,000 reported in June. Of course, Wall Street likes a slowing job market, because it suggests the Fed will not withdraw its monetary medicine anytime soon, the stock market bubble will continue to inflate, making the rich richer and…well, you know. But the “other” job survey, based upon households rather than businesses, suggests that Main Street is already in a funk.

The Household Survey reports a sub-par 131,000 jobs were created last month, pushing unemployment (which is based on the Household Survey) up to 6.2%. To put this in context, remember that as many as 90,000 new jobs per month are needed to absorb the ongoing influx of one million or so immigrants allowed to enter each year. And that’s just the legal immigrants.

Our analysis of the Household data finds that foreign-born workers—legal and illegal—gained jobs at twice the rate of native-born Americans last month:

In July:

  • Total employment rose by 131,000, or by 0.09%
  • Native-born American employment rose by 93,000 or by 0.08%
  • Foreign-born employment rose by 38,000, or by 0.16%
July’s job picture marked a resumption of the displacement of native-born American workers by immigrants that has been a fact of life during the Obama years. The trend is made clear in our New American Worker Displacement Index (NVDAWDI) graphic:


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

From January 2009 to June 2014:

  • Foreign-born employment rose by 2.286 million, or by 10.56%. The immigrant employment index rose from 100.0 to 110.6.
  • Native-born American employment rose by 1.845 million or by 1.53%. The native-born American employment index rose from 100.0 to 101.5.
  • NVDAWDI (the ratio of immigrant to native-born Americans employment growth indexes) rose from 100.0 to 108.9 (100X(110.6/101.5)
By focusing only on the Obama years we are actually understating the impact of mass immigration on native-born American workers. The Great Recession was a disaster for immigrants and native-born Americans alike. Many immigrants apparently left the country after 2008. Fewer entered. Displacement was far more pernicious when economic growth was (relatively) robust during the George W. Bushyears, 2000 to 2008.

Though native-born Americans employment is somewhat higher now than it was at the start of the Great Recession, there are still fewer working-age natives holding a job in the first quarter of 2014 than in 2000, while the number of immigrants with a job is 5.7 million above the 2000 level.

The tendency for a strengthening economy to benefit foreign-born more than native-born American job seekers is evident in the “Employment Status by Nativity” table published in the July employment report:

Employment Status by Nativity, July 2013-July 2014(numbers in 1000s; not seasonally adjusted)
  Jul-13 Jul-14 Change % Change
Foreign born, 16 years and older
Civilian population 37,941 38,475 534 1.4%
Civilian labor force 25,382 25,411 29 0.1%
       Participation rate (%) 66.9% 66.0% -0.9 %pts. -1.3%
Employed 23,689 24,082 393 1.7%
Employment/population % 62.4% 62.6% 0.2 % pts. 0.3%
Unemployed 1,693 1,329 -364 -21.5%
Unemployment rate (%) 6.7% 5.2% -1.5 %pts. -22.4%
Not in labor force 12,559 13,064 505 4.0%
Native born, 16 years and older
Civilian population 207,815 209,549 1,734 0.8%
Civilian labor force 131,814 132,162 348 0.3%
       Participation rate (%) 63.4% 63.1% -0.3 %pts. -0.5%
Employed 121,424 123,183 1,759 1.4%
Employment/population % 58.4% 58.8% 0.4 %pts. 0.7%
Unemployed 10,390 8,978 -1,412 -13.6%
Unemployment rate (%) 7.9% 6.8% -1.1 %pts. -13.9%
Not in labor force 76,001 77,387 1,386 1.8%
Source: BLS, The Employment Situation - July 2014,Table A-7, August 1, 2014.PDF

Over the past 12 months:

  • Immigrant employment rose by 393,000 positions, a 1.7% increase; native-born American employment rose by 1,759,000 positions, a 1.4% increase.
  • The unemployment rate for native-born Americans fell to 6.8%, a drop of 1.1 percentage points. The foreign-born unemployment rate fell to 5.2%, a drop of 1.5 percentage points.
  • Labor force participation rates fell for native-born Americans and immigrants alike, but the immigrant LPR – 66.0% - remained significantly above the native-born Americans LPR (63.1%).
  • The working age population of immigrants rose by 534,000, or 1.4%. The comparable population growth for the native-born Americans: 1.734 million, or 0.6%.
As things stand now, U.S. job growth will simply suck in more legal and illegal immigration to this country.

This is not an inevitable outcome, however. A sealed southern border and a sane policy on legal immigration can help shrink the army of unemployed American.

Or to put in another way: The Atlantic Magazine tweeted this graph, which, when you click through, includes a picture of President Obama.

Should Americans be saying “Thank you, President Obama?” No, they shouldn’t. The people who got the jobs—largely Hispanic immigrants—should be saying “Gracias, Senor Presidente!”

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

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