17 Percent Of American Workers Weren’t Born In The United States

Foreign-born workers now represent 17 percent of the American labor force, according to an annual report the Bureau of Labor Statistics released Thursday.

In 2016, there were 27 million immigrants in the U.S. labor force, according to the new numbers. Hispanics accounted for 48 percent of the foreign-born workforce, while Asians made up 25 percent. Foreign-born workers were more likely than native-born workers to be employed in the service industry and less likely to be employed in management, professional and related occupations.

The share of foreign-born workers that make up the American workforce has steadily risen over the last six years, following a modest decline during the great recession, according to Bloomberg. From 1996 to 2016, the entire labor force grew by about 25 million, with almost half of that coming from people born outside of the U.S.

Foreign born workers also account have a higher participation in the labor market. In 2016, the labor force participation rate of the foreign born was 65.2 percent, unchanged from 2015. Comparatively, the participation rate for the native-born was 62.3 percent in 2016. The participation rate of foreign-born men was 77.8 percent in 2016, higher than the rate of 67.5 percent for native-born men. 53.4 percent of foreign-born women were labor force participants, lower than the rate of 57.5 percent for native-born women.

Labor force participation rates for foreign-born Whites was 59 percent, 63 percent for foreign-born Asians and 68 percent for Hispanics. Comparatively, the participation rates for native-born Whites was 62.4 percent, 62.6 percent for native-born Asians and 64 percent for native-born Hispanics.

About 10 percent more of the foreign-born black population works compared to the native-born black population. 70 percent of foreign-born Blacks participate in the labor force, with 60 percent of native-born Blacks participating.

In 2016, foreign-born mothers with children under 18 were less likely to be labor force participants than were native-born mothers. 59 percent of foreign-born mothers participate compared to 74 percent of native-born women.

When broken down by region, the foreign born made up a larger share of the labor force in the West, with 24 percent, and the Northeast, with 19.5 percent, than for the nation as a whole. The foreign born make up 16.1 percent of the workforce in the South, and 8.6 percent in the Midwest.

The report from BLS does not distinguish between legally-admitted immigrants, refugees, temporary residents, and undocumented immigrants.

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