Immigrants and Labor Force Trends: The Future, Past, and Present
Debates on immigration policy often discuss calibrating immigration levels to meet the labor needs of the nation’s economy. Indeed, it is clear that immigration strongly affects U.S. labor markets – over the past thirty years, foreign-born workers have grown to record numbers, and currently about one out of every seven U.S. workers was born outside the country.
Trends suggest that unless immigration laws are changed drastically, immigrants will form an increasing share of the workforce over the next thirty years. Foreign-born workers are well-represented in occupations predicted to grow most over the next decades, suggesting such workers will remain in demand. As a result, immigrants are expected to form about one-third of the low-skilled labor force over coming decades, and up to 18 percent of college-educated workers. Immigrants are also expected to assist in addressing the needs of an aging population by providing services to the elderly, altering worker-to-retiree ratios, and providing tax revenues that support programs for the aged. While the future of the country’s economy is uncertain, it seems quite clear that immigrants will play a large role in the future workforce.
II. Projections of Tomorrow’s Labor Force
III. Projections of Workers by Education
IV. Projection of Workers by Occupation
V. Population Dependency and Productivity
VI. The Last Thirty Years: Increases in Foreign Workers from New Sending Countries
VII. Past and Present Rates of Employment and Unemployment
VIII. Past and Present Rates of Educational Attainment
IX. Past and Present Changes in Occupational Employment
X. The Recent Picture: Changes in Industrial Employment