September's unemployment figures were not only disappointing -- they were grim. For the 21st straight month, Americans lost jobs. Fifteen million are out of work -- 5 million for more than six months.
But as The Washington Times asserts, "America's jobless crisis is much worse than the 9.8 percent unemployment rate."
The U.S. economy actually lost 785,000 jobs in September, which should have pushed the 9.7 percent August unemployment figure far higher than just 0.1 percent to 9.8 percent.
What kept the increase to 0.1 percent?
Over 800,000 people quit the labor force in September. They packed it in. They stopped looking for work. That is six times the number who quit looking in August and five times the monthly average of those who have given up the search for work in the year since Lehman Brothers died.
Adding to the near 15 million unemployed those who have given up looking for work and those who have taken low-paying part-time jobs, the Times estimates the true employment rate at 17 percent. We used to call that a depression.
Yet, with nearly 25 million Americans unemployed, or no longer looking for work, or in low-wage part-time jobs, 8.5 million U.S. jobs are believed to be held by illegal aliens who broke into the country or overstayed their visas.
Why is this not a matter of national outrage?
For every job opening in the country, there are six unemployed Americans. With this surplus of idle labor and shortage of jobs, the men who do the hiring are in the catbird's seat. They can cut wages in the knowledge that desperate Americans will have to accept what is offered.
Comes the rote response: Immigrants and illegal aliens only take jobs Americans do not want and will not do. But, last month, a front-page article in USA Today demolished that argument.
When a 2006 raid on six Swift & Co. meatpacking plants rounded up 1,200 illegal aliens, 10 percent of the workforce, Swift was up and running at full staff within months. How? Native-born Americans in the hundreds came out and took the jobs.
Says Vanderbilt University Professor Carol Swain, "Whenever there's an immigration raid, you find white, black and legal immigrant labor lining up to do these jobs Americans will supposedly not do."
At one of the Swift plants out West, a workforce that had been 90 percent Hispanic, legal and illegal, before the raids is now a mixture of white Americans and Hispanic-Americans. Illegal aliens lost the jobs, and American citizens got them.