On the first Friday of each month, Americans interested in the economy’s health as measured by employment data have two choices. They can read their daily newspaper which generally offers the most optimistic picture. Or they read the website Shawdowstats.com which lays out what is usually grim statistics.
On May 3, for example, the New York Times reported that the private sector is “rolling ahead” and has created “200,000 jobs a month, on average since the beginning of the year,” which has forced the overall unemployment rate down to 7.5 percent, “its lowest level since the end of 2008.” In reference to the Bureau of Labor Statistics April statistics, sprinkled throughout the story were words and phrases like “robust,” “brighter,” “soaring” and “sharply revised upward.” [Jobs Data Ease Fears of Economic Slow Down, by Nelson D. Schwartz, New York Times, May 3, 2013]
Not until the story’s fifteenth paragraph in the online version did the bad news surface including this:
"On the downside, the least-educated workers continue to bear the brunt of elevated joblessness, with the unemployment rate for workers who failed to graduate from high school rising to 11.6 percent from 11.1 percent in March. At the other end of the education spectrum, unemployment among people with a college degree or more remained at a low level, rising by 0.1 of a percentage point to 3.9 percent."
But Shawdowstats' John Williams called the official unemployment data “nonsense” and, pointing to a 13.9 percent U-6 unemployment and his own unemployment rate which he calculates 23 pecent, declared that “the economy remains in serious trouble.” Watch Williams here.
If anything, Williams may be understating the crisis. Through March, the percentage of working-age adults in the labor force, called the participation rate, fell to 63.3 percent, the lowest since May 1979. [Unemployment Woes: Americans Drop Out of Labor Force as Job Market Stagnates, by Paul Wiseman and Jesse Washington, Huffington Post, April 6, 2013]
Both the mainstream media and Shadowstats ignore how federal immigration policy devastates America workers. Every month an average of 90,000 legal immigrants become work authorized. Looked at in another more damning way, in relatively good month like April which created 165,000 jobs, more than half of the job increase is needed just to absorb new immigrants. Since President Obama took office in January 2009, 52 months ago, 4.7 million new immigrants have been issued work permits.
As for the “least educated workers” the Times wrote about, if the Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Bill, S.744, passes, 11 million illegal immigrants would also be legally work authorized, a near fatal blow to less-skilled Americans. Legal immigration would double or possibly triple.
All the media’s happy talk and doomsayers’ hand-wringing ignore the unarguable link between more legal immigrant workers and American job displacement. As long as immigration remains high, so will unemployment.