Friday's release of a "just right" jobs report, in which the US economy reportedly added 211,000 jobs, more than the 200,000 expected, solidified its position as the "most important" one in recent years, after it was broadly interpreted by economists as the sufficient condition for the Fed to hike rates on December 16, 7 years to the day after the same Fed cut rates to zero.
As such, if indeed the Fed does hike, over the next several quarters, the US labor data will take a secondary place in terms of importance unless, of course, it plummets in which case the Fed will be forced to quickly undo its tightening policy and go back to ZIRP if not NIRP and more QE.
However, even as the Fed's "data (in)dependent" monetary policy takes on secondary relevance as we enter 2016, one aspect of the US jobs market is certain to take on an unprecedented importance.
We first laid out what that is three months ago when we said that "the one chart that matters more than ever, has little to nothing to do with the Fed's monetary policy, but everything to do with the November 2016 presidential elections in which the topic of immigration, both legal and illegal, is shaping up to be the most rancorous, contentious and divisive."
We were talking about the chart showing the cumulative addition of foreign-born and native-born workers added to US payrolls according to the BLS since December 2007, i.e., since the start of the recession/Second Great Depression.
Curiously, it is precisely this data that got absolutely no mention following yesterday's job report, about which the fawning mainstream media only noted, in passing, one negative aspect to the report: the fact that 319,000 part-time jobs for economic reasons were added in November. However, with Trump and his anti-immigration campaign having just taken the biggest lead in the republican primary race, we are confident that the chart shown below will soon be recognizable to economic and political pundits everywhere.
And here is why we are confident this particular data should have been prominently noted by all experts when dissecting yesterday's job report: according to the BLS' Household Survey, while 375,000 foreign-born workers found jobs in November, a whopping 326,000 native-born Americans lost theirs.
How does this data look like over the long-run: presenting, the cumulative number of job gains by foreign born workers since December 2007. At 25.5 million, it is the highest in the series.
If only the chart for native-born workers was anything remotely as buoyant.
And here, as we have shown previously, is the most important jobs chart for 2016: since December 2007 the US economy added just 747,000 native-born workers (a number which tumbled as much as 8 million during the depths of the crisis), compared to a 260% greater increase in foreign-born workers, to just under 2.7 million.
We are confident that one can make the case that there are considerations on both the labor demand-side (whether US employers have a natural tendency to hire foreign-born workers is open to debate) as well as on the supply-side: it may be easier to obtain wage-equivalent welfare compensation for native-born Americans than for their foreign-born peers, forcing the latter group to be much more engaged and active in finding a wage-paying job.
However, the underlying economics of this trend are largely irrelevant: as the presidential primary race hits a crescendo all that will matter is the soundbite that over the past 8 years, 2.7 million foreign-born Americans have found a job compared to only 747,000 native-born. The result is a combustible mess that will lead to serious fireworks during each and every subsequent GOP primary debate, especially if Trump remains solidly in the lead.