What Roles Do Foreign Nationals Play In the U.S. Labor Force?

foreign workers in U.S.

Data on foreign nationals indicate that they play an important role in the U.S. economy.

 

Where are Foreign Nationals Working?

Immigration, guest workers and brain drain has been a recurring topic in many campaigns for the Presidency. It has called into question the positive contribution that foreign nationals have made to the U.S. and continue to make.

In this context, the data on the subject is educational.

Let’s take a look at it.

According  to a report published this year by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, reviewing data from 2014, based in large measure on a survey of about 60,000 households nationwide, there are 25.7 million foreign born persons (“FBPs”) in the U.S. labor force, accounting for 16.5% of the total number of U.S. workers.

In 2014, Hispanics accounted for 48.3% of the FBP workforce; persons from Asia accounted for another 24.1%.  As defined in the report, FBPs include legally admitted immigrants, refugees, temporary residents, students, temporary workers, as well as undocumented immigrants.

Here are six occupational categories of foreign born persons (FBPs):

1. Foreign Nationals in the Scientific Occupations

In 2014, 30.7% of FBPs worked in Management, Professional and Related Occupations. Interestingly, in the subcategory-Computer and Mathematical Occupations– there was a higher percentage of FBPs working in this occupational area, as a percentage of the total FBP workforce, than native born persons, as a percentage of the total native born workforce i.e.  4.3% as opposed to 2.7%.

The same relationship also held true in the subcategory of Architecture and Engineering Occupations, i.e. 2.2% versus 1.9%, and the Life, Physical and Social Science Occupations, i.e. 1.1% versus .9%.

2. Foreign Nationals in Service Occupations

24.1% of the FBP workforce worked in Service Occupations, defined under subcategories– Healthcare, Food Preparation, Building and Maintenance, and Personal Care.  In these subcategories, i.e. Food Preparation and Serving Related Occupations,

Building and Grounds Cleaning and Maintenance Occupations, and Personal Care and Service Occupations, there were more FBPs as a percentage of the total FBP workforce working in these occupations than native  born persons as a percentage of the total native born workforce, i.e. 7.3% versus 5.2% (Food Preparation and Serving Related Occupations); 8.7% versus 3.0% (Building and Grounds Cleaning and Maintenance Occupations); and 4.4% versus 3.5% (Personal Care and Service Occupations).

3. Foreign Nationals in the Natural Resources, Construction and Maintenance Occupations

13.7 % of FBPs as a percentage of the total FBP workforce also worked in the Natural Resources, Construction, and Maintenance Occupations, but, as a percentage of the total FBP workforce, twice as many FBPs worked in the Construction and Extraction Occupations (one of three sub-categories), than native born persons, as a percentage of the total native born workforce, i.e. 9.0% versus 4.5%.

Also, more than twice as many foreign nationals, as a percentage of the total FBP workforce, worked in Farming, Fishing and Forestry Occupations than native born persons, as a percentage of the total native born workforce i.e. 1.7% versus .5%.

4.  Foreign Nationals in Production, Transportation, and Materials Moving Occupations

15.6% of FBPs, as a percentage of the total FBP workforce, worked in the Production, Transportation, and Materials Moving occupations, versus 11.2% of native born persons, as a percentage of the total native born workforce.

Next- #5, #6 and Takeaway

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