Employers added 242,000 jobs in February and unemployment remained at 4.9%, reprising the lowest reading in eight years. These results, while not the blowout needed to quickly absorb 8.2 million unemployed (and millions more underemployed), alleviated fears of an imminent recession.
The Household Survey, which reports the nativity and ethnicity of workers and unemployed individuals, confirmed that the job market is strong. Even better, based on our estimates, February 2016 was one of those rare months when all the new jobs went to American workers:
In February 2016:
- Total Household Survey employment rose 530,000, up by 0.4%
- Native-born American employment rose by 552,000, up by 0.4%
- Foreign-born immigrant employment (both legal and illegal) fell by 22,000—down by 0.1%
The job market has been relatively strong for a few years now, but those gains have done little to assuage the economic stress and anger of the average American—emotions that fuel the candidacy of Donald Trump. One reason: