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Economic News Release
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Labor Force Characteristics of Foreign-Born Workers Summary

For release 10:00 a.m. (EDT) Friday, May 27, 2011                          USDL-11-0763

Technical information:  (202) 691-6378  *  cpsinfo@bls.gov  *  www.bls.gov/cps
Media contact:          (202) 691-5902  *  PressOffice@bls.gov


             FOREIGN-BORN WORKERS: LABOR FORCE CHARACTERISTICS -- 2010


The unemployment rate for the foreign born was 9.8 percent in 2010, little changed from
a year earlier, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. The jobless rate of
the native born was 9.6 percent in 2010, up from 9.2 percent in 2009. The foreign born
made up 15.8 percent of the labor force in 2010. //FORBRN ZUNI3PO Test 11/2/2020//

This news release compares the labor force characteristics of the foreign born with
those of the native born. The data on nativity are collected as part of the Current
Population Survey (CPS), a monthly sample survey of approximately 60,000 households.
The foreign born are persons who reside in the United States but who were born outside
the country or one of its outlying areas to parents who were not U.S. citizens. The
foreign born include legally-admitted immigrants, refugees, temporary residents such as
students and temporary workers, and undocumented immigrants. The survey data, however,
do not separately identify the numbers of persons in these categories. For further
information about the survey, see the Technical Note.

Highlights from the 2010 data:

   --Over the year, the number of foreign-born labor force participants rose, while
     the number of native born in the labor force declined. (See table 1.)

   --Hispanics accounted for 49.9 percent of the foreign-born labor force in 2010;
     Asians accounted for 21.8 percent. (See table 1.)

   --Foreign-born workers were more likely than native-born workers to be employed
     in service occupations; production, transportation, and material moving
     occupations; and natural resources, construction, and maintenance occupations.
     (See table 4.)

   --The median usual weekly earnings of foreign-born full-time wage and salary
     workers were $598 in 2010, compared with $771 for their native-born counterparts.
     (See table 5.)

Demographic Characteristics

In 2010, men made up a larger share of the foreign-born labor force (59.0 percent) than
they did of the native-born labor force (52.2 percent). The proportion of the foreign-
born labor force made up of 25- to 54-year-olds was higher than for their native-born
counterparts (76.1 and 65.2 percent, respectively). Labor force participation is
typically highest among persons in that age bracket. (See table 1.)

Hispanics comprised 49.9 percent of the foreign-born labor force in 2010, compared
with 8.2 percent of the native-born labor force. Asians made up 21.8 percent of the
foreign-born labor force, compared with 1.4 percent of the native-born labor force.
(Data in this release for persons who are white, black, or Asian do not include those
of Hispanic or Latino ethnicity. Data on persons of Hispanic or Latino ethnicity are
presented separately.)

In 2010, 26.5 percent of the foreign-born labor force age 25 and over had not
completed high school, compared with 5.4 percent of the native-born labor force.
Similar proportions of foreign-born and native-born persons in the labor force had
a bachelor's degree or higher (31.1 and 35.3 percent, respectively). Foreign-born
workers were less likely than the native born to have some college or an associate
degree--17.1 versus 29.9 percent.

Labor Force and Unemployment

In 2010, the labor force participation rate of the foreign born was unchanged at 67.9
percent. From 2009 to 2010, the labor force participation rate of the native born
fell by 0.8 percentage point to 64.1 percent. (See table 1.) In 2010, both the number
of foreign-born labor force participants (24.4 million) and their share of the U.S.
civilian labor force (15.8 percent) increased after showing little change in 2008
and 2009. The share of the U.S. civilian labor force that was foreign born grew
steadily from 1996 to 2007. 

The labor force participation rate of foreign-born men was 80.1 percent in 2010,
compared with 69.5 percent for native-born men. The gap was narrower for women; 55.7
percent of foreign-born women were labor force participants, compared with 59.1 percent
of native-born women.

Among the major race and ethnicity groups, labor force participation rates of foreign-
born blacks (74.6 percent) increased in 2010, while the rate for foreign-born Asians
(65.8 percent) fell. The participation rate for foreign-born whites (60.7 percent) and
Hispanics (70.8 percent) showed little or no change in 2010. Among the native born,
labor force participation rates of whites and Hispanics fell, while rates of Asians and
blacks changed little.

The labor force participation rate of foreign-born mothers with children under age 18
was 60.8 percent in 2010, well below the figure of 73.2 percent for native-born mothers.
Foreign-born mothers with younger children are much less likely to be labor force
participants than their native-born counterparts. Among women with children under age 3,
the participation rate for the foreign born was 46.5 percent in 2010, while that for
the native born was 64.5 percent. The labor force participation rates of foreign- and
native-born fathers with children under age 18 were similar, at 94.0 and 93.3 percent,
respectively. (See table 2.)

By region, the foreign born made up a larger share of the labor force in 2010 in the West
(24.2 percent) and in the Northeast (18.4 percent) than for the nation as a whole (15.8
percent). In contrast, the foreign born made up a smaller share of the labor force than
for the nation as a whole in the South (14.1 percent) and Midwest (7.8 percent). Of the
total 24.4 million foreign born in the labor force in 2010, about two-thirds lived in the
West and the South. (See table 6.)

In 2010, the unemployment rate of the foreign born was 9.8 percent, little changed from a
year earlier. The jobless rate for the native born increased by 0.4 percentage point to
9.6 percent. The unemployment rates for both foreign-born men and women were little
changed in 2010, at 9.9 and 9.6 percent, respectively. Among the native born, the rate
for men rose by 0.3 percentage point to 10.6 percent, while the rate for women was up by
0.6 percentage point to 8.5 percent. (See table 1.)

Occupation

In 2010, foreign-born workers were more likely than native-born workers to be employed
in service occupations (25.0 versus 16.4 percent); in production, transportation, and
material moving occupations (16.1 versus 10.8 percent); and in natural resources,
construction, and maintenance occupations (13.6 versus 8.6 percent). Native-born workers
were more likely than foreign-born workers to be employed in management, professional,
and related occupations (38.9 versus 28.0 percent), and in sales and office occupations
(25.3 versus 17.3 percent). (See table 4.)

Foreign-born men were more likely than native-born men to be employed in natural
resources, construction, and maintenance occupations; production, transportation, and
material moving occupations; and in service occupations. Compared with native-born
women, foreign-born women were more likely to be employed in service occupations and
in production, transportation, and material moving occupations.

Earnings

In 2010, the median usual weekly earnings of foreign-born full-time wage and salary workers
($598) were 77.5 percent of the earnings of their native-born counterparts ($771). Among
men, median earnings for the foreign born were $610 per week, while the native born earned
$873 per week. The median usual weekly earnings for foreign-born women were $577, compared
with $686 for native-born women. Differences in earnings reflect a variety of factors,
including variations in the distributions of foreign-born and native-born workers by
educational attainment, occupation, industry, and geographic region. (See table 5.)

Hispanic foreign-born full-time wage and salary workers earned 76.4 percent as much as
their native-born counterparts in 2010. For white, black, and Asian workers, earnings were
similar for the foreign born and the native born.

The earnings of both foreign-born and native-born workers increase with education. In 2010,
foreign-born workers age 25 and over with less than a high school education earned $416
per week, while those with a bachelorís degree and higher earned about 2.7 times as much--
$1,119 per week. Among the native born, those with a bachelorís degree and higher earned
about 2.4 times as much as those with less than a high school education--$1,147 versus
$486 per week.

The gap between the earnings of foreign-born and native-born workers generally narrows
with higher levels of education. Among those with less than a high school diploma in 2010,
full-time workers who were foreign born earned 85.5 percent as much as their native-born
counterparts. Among those with a bachelorís degree and higher, foreign-born workers earned
almost as much (97.6 percent) as native-born workers.



 

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Last Modified Date: November 02, 2020