2009 May 09 Saturday
Black Unemployment Rate Hits 15 Percent

While the US jobless rate has hit 8.9% some groups are much harder hit than others. Blacks are especially hard hit.

The unemployment rate reached 15 percent among African-Americans, 21.5 percent for teenagers, and 9.4 percent for adult men.

If Obama wants to help blacks he should start deporting large numbers of illegal aliens to open up jobs for black men and women. Instead Obama is talking about comprehensive immigration reform which is Washington DC code-talk for immigration amnesty.

The unemployment rate is much higher if people who have given up looking for a job are counted.

Those figures do not account for the millions of people working part time because their hours have been cut or they have failed to land full-time jobs. When those people are counted along with those who would like jobs but have given up looking, the so-called underemployment rate reached 15.8 percent — up from 15.6 percent in March and 9.2 percent a year earlier.

So then the black underemployment rate is over 20%.

For those out of work, this recession has already proven to be the most punishing since the government began tracking the length of unemployment in 1948: Among the officially jobless, 27.2 percent were unemployed for more than six months, the highest figure on record.

This recession is breaking post-WWII records. When will it start breaking pre-WWII records?

One way to figure out which side of an issue to be on is to look at the fools promoting one side or the other. Alan Greenspan says illegal immigration helps the economy. But Greenspan is still living in 2006 when he didn't think that his monetary policy was causing grievous damage to the economy by feeding a housing and credit bubble.

Greenspan sounds especially oblivious to the facts on the ground when we look at immigrant employment. Let me remind you again about a recent report by Steven A. Camarota and Karen Jensenius of the Center for Immigration Studies finds that immigrant unemployment has risen far more than native unemployment.

  • The immigrant unemployment rate is now 5.6 percentage points higher than in the third quarter of 2007, before the recession began. Native unemployment has increased 3.8 percentage points over the same period.
  • Among immigrants who have arrived since the beginning of 2006 unemployment is 13.3 percent.
  • The number of unemployed immigrants increased 1.3 million (130 percent) since the third quarter of 2007. Among natives the increase was five million (81 percent).
  • The number of immigrants holding a job dropped 2.1 million (9 percent) from the third quarter of 2007 to the first quarter of this year. For natives, the drop was 4.5 million (4 percent).
  • There is no way to know if the current trend will continue. But these high unemployment rates for immigrants and natives raise the question of whether it makes sense to continue admitting so many new immigrants. In FY 2008, some 1.45 million new immigrants (temporary and permanent) were given work authorization.
  • From 1994 until a few years ago immigrants consistently had higher unemployment than natives, though the rates tended to converge over time. By 2005 natives consistently had higher unemployment rates.
  • In the second half of 2007 and into 2008 unemployment began to rise slightly faster for immigrants than for natives. By the first quarter of this year, immigrants had higher unemployment than natives.
  • Unemployment has risen faster among the least-educated immigrants. The unemployment rate for immigrants without a high school diploma has increased 9.9 percentage points since the third quarter of 2007, reaching 14.7 percent in the first quarter of 2009. For natives without a high school diploma it increased 7.9 percentage points, reaching 19.5 percent during the same period.

Hispanic immigrant unemployment has risen more than for non-Hispanic immigrants.

The bottom portions of Tables 1 and 2 report unemployment for Hispanic immigrants. They show that Hispanic immigrants accounted for 66 percent of the increase in the number of unemployed immigrants since the third quarter of 2007. Hispanic immigrants accounted for 50 percent of all immigrant workers in 2007. Unemployment among foreign-born Hispanics increased dramatically, from 4.5 percent to 12.1 percent — a 7.6 percentage-point increase. This indicates that Hispanic immigrants were disproportionately hit by the recession. However, unemployment among non-Hispanic immigrants increased dramatically as well. In the third quarter of 2007 it was 3.6 percent, by the first quarter of 2009 it was 7.4 percent — a 3.8 percentage- point increase. Thus, it is not just Hispanic immigrants who have experienced a dramatic increase in unemployment.

This result makes sense because the least skilled suffer the highest unemployment rates. Also, the housing industry has been especially hard hit and large numbers of illegal Hispanics worked in construction. The lower skill levels of Hispanics put them most directly into competition for dwindling numbers of jobs with lower skills requirements. If Obama wanted to help blacks he'd reduce the competition they face in the labor market.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2009 May 09 08:46 AM  Economics Labor

The Undiscovered Jew said at May 9, 2009 10:33 AM:

So then the black underemployment rate is over 20%.

Doesn't the underemployment rate include those working part time in addition to those who have given up looking for work?

Also, the number of births in Arizona fell 3.5% from 2007-2008 - the first time there has been an absolute drop in total births in Arizona since 1996.

Also, births have fallen even more for the first three months of 2009 compared to the first three months of 2008.

Perhaps the powerful recession is hitting Hispanic fertility?



miles said at May 10, 2009 3:04 PM:

Obama hates whitey above all things, and getting whitey outnumbered is job 1. Thats why he is for much more immigration despite 20 percent black unemployment.

Aki_Izayoi said at May 10, 2009 4:38 PM:

Well, Greenspan was a "successful" central banker in the nineties and he did his job. At least admit that Randall. Shouldn't you be proud of Greenspan for restraining the evil wage/price spiral? You are a republican, and keep wages down is congruent with that, so you should be proud of Greenspan.

Well, I suppose Greenspan made the elites happy because he defeated inflation, I mean, wage inflation and that means more profits for companies (as this was replaced by more borrowing) and less costs. So this increased stock prices. (He also bailed out LTCM, and its counterparties too.) Wage inflation is evil, but asset price inflation the wealthy elite liked. So Greenspan did a good job for promoting good inflation and restricting bad inflation.

So Greenspan likes immigration (and globalization) as an (wage) inflation fighting measure. Well, does it fight inflation (keeping prices down)? Probably not because they have to use public health services and the costs for that get passed on to other people. Also immigration causes an education bubble since more people have to go to college in order to get "good jobs." People cannot simply settle in a low skilled job that would have less wage pressures if there was less immigration.

A deregulated job market is a zero-sum game (it could also be a negative sum game), and immigration harms people in the job market since it is a fixed pie and more people have to share it. Also, let's not forget the negative effects of the increased discounting by genetic distance too.

From a US democratic perspective (talking about globalization and the prime rate from a 1990s perspective):

From other sites weak:


March 6, 2000. Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan spoke today at a conference on the "New Economy" at Boston College, where he cited immigration as a means to maintain economic growth without inflation. Greenspan again stated concern that growing labor shortages would lead to increased wage demands, which would inevitably result in inflation. Greenspan stated that "while the pool of officially unemployed…. may continue to shrink, as it has over the past seven years, there is an effective limit to new hiring, unless immigration is uncapped….Unless we are able to indefinitely increase the rate of capital flows to the United States to finance rising net imports or continuously augment immigration quotas, overall demand for goods and services cannot chronically exceed the underlying growth rate of supply."

"Chairman Greenspan lauded the contribution that new technologies are having on the economy, leading to economic growth and increased productivity. Greenspan also cited the still largely untapped potential for e-commerce, especially in the business-to-business arena. Mr. Greenspan's comments on the positive effects of immigration have been cited by advocates as a reason for Congress to vote to increase the number of H-1B visas available. "

- that was written in 3/6/2000. For some fun, look at a chart of the NASDAQ.

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