What Kind of Work Do Immigrants Do? Occupation and Industry of Foreign-Born Workers in the United States
This report examines the characteristics of foreign-born workers in the United States based on the 2002 Current Population Survey. Findings relate to foreign-born workers age 16 and over participating in the civilian labor force.
The report finds that foreign-born workers are employed in a broad range of occupations—with 23 percent in managerial and professional occupations; 21 percent in technical, sales, and administrative support occupations; 21 percent in service occupations; and 18 percent working as operators, fabricators. By comparison, native employed workers are concentrated in managerial and professional and technical, sales, and administrative support occupations. The majority of native and foreign-born workers are employed in two industries—professional and related services and retail trade.
The report also finds different patterns of occupation and industry participation among foreign-born workers from Mexico and Central America. Over half of these individuals work as operators, fabricators, and laborers or in the service occupations. Compared to both the native and overall foreign-born worker population, Mexican and Central American workers are less likely to be employed in professional and related industries, and more likely to be employed in the construction and non-durable goods manufacturing industries.