The US: Immigrant Workers Are Most Likely To Have These Jobs

By | 04.04.2017

The Pew Research Center published the most popular industries and occupations among US immigrants.

The work of immigrants has been of interest to economists for a very long time. It is a crucial issue, as we need to know whether immigrants actually ‘take jobs’ from people born in the United States or not. Currently, most immigration researchers say they do not. But a non-insubstantial number says yes.

The US: Immigrant Workers Are Most Likely To Have These Jobs

Now, a new Pew study delivers more clarity to the conversation. This research center today published a blog describing in detail the participation of immigrants in the labor market. Here you can find several points of interest.

First, immigrant labor force participation has grown since the 1990s. In 1995, immigrants (legal and undocumented) were 12% of the workforce. In 2014, according to Pew, they were 17%. Immigrants and their US-born children are expected to drive growth in the US workforce for the next two decades (in fact, without them, the working population would be reduced, creating a serious problem for the country).

But, in addition to those numbers, the study gives a comprehensive list of the most common work sectors for immigrants, along with the specific jobs to which they are most dedicated. Importantly, the study found that immigrants are not the majority of workers in any US industry, although they are the majority in some specific jobs.

The employment industry in ‘private households ‘ was the one with the highest proportion of immigrants. 45% of the 947,000 people in that area were born abroad. Then there is the sector of textiles and manufacturers of clothing and leather (with 36%) and agriculture (with 33%).

It must be recognized that the work patterns for legal immigrants and undocumented immigrants are different. The industries of legal immigrants are more like those of people born in the United States. The retail sector is the largest industry of legal immigrants (10% there), then educational services (8%), then health services out of hospitals (7%). Among undocumented immigrants, under construction are 16% of workers. Second is the restaurant sector/places to eat or drink (where they are 14%).

Later, the Pew study also analyzes specific occupations or jobs of immigrants. 63% of workers in the area of beauty and personal appearance (such as manicures and stylists) are immigrants, the highest proportion of any profession. They are also 55% of those between sewing machine operators and 60% of agricultural workers (in various jobs).

All study information was calculated using responses from the 2014 census.

Something that may also be worth highlighting is the change in the vision that Americans have about immigrants and their role in the labor market. According to Pew, there has been a radical shift: in 2006, 55% of Americans said that having more immigrants hurt the country and only 28% thought it would help the US. This division has become more subdued: now, 45% say that immigrants make things harder for the country’s workers, while 42% say that it improves the situation in the US.

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