The October 2011 Alabama unemployment numbers are out; thankfully, the rate did fall by .5%.  Desperate for any semblance of good news, the ALGOP is hailing this as vindication for HB56.

Rep. Mickey Hammon declared

Despite how desperately illegal immigrant sympathizers have tried to portray this law as somehow harmful to our state’s economy, the truth is more Alabamians are working today thanks in part to our decision to crackdown on illegal immigration . . . The evidence is clear: this law is helping put more Alabamians back to work, and that’s why such a strong majority of Alabamians support it.

Scott Beason tweeted:

AL unemployment rate down 0.5% in Oct. An “intended consequence” of the anti-ILLEGAL immigration law. Nation down 0.1, TN down 0.1, GA n/c

Are they correct? Is this a counter-factual to all prior economic research?

Figures from the Alabama Department of Industrial Relations show that the state created 9,700 jobs in October. Most of the gains were in the trade, transportation and utilities sector, the government sector, and the professional and business services sector.

That HB56 caused gains in these sectors  makes perfect sense.  I mean, we all know that the trade (i.e. exporting and/or importing trade services) , transportation (i.e. airlines with E-verify), utilities sectors (i.e. Alabama Power with E-verify) are just overflowing with undocumented immigrants. And all those illegal immigrants in the “professional and business services sector” just hiked right back across the desert after  HB56. And of course, thank goodness all those government agencies (which already used E-verify)  got rid of their illegal immigrants, too.

In fact, according to Hammon/Beason logic, HB56 is so powerful and effective that it caused the unemployment rates in other states to fall as well: Florida (fell .3% in October..4% since June) and Tennessee (fell .2% in October, .6% since June).  And the law’s impact reaches all the way to Louisiana which unemployment rate fell to the lowest point in April 2010. And even Georgia’s rate fell this past month after increases in unemployment every month since the passage of their anti-immigrant law.

All facetiousness aside, I don’t think much can be gleaned from an isolated month of macroeconomic figures.

Ahmad Ijaz, a University of Alabama economist, said he believes it is a stretch to credit the immigration law for Alabama’s declining unemployment numbers. He said it is too soon to tell whether the law is actually creating jobs for state residents.

“The decline in unemployment is mostly because of seasonal hiring and fewer workers in the labor force,” he said.

Advertisements