When someone comes to the United States, there’s usually a good reason. Some people emigrate from their home country as a refugee, escaping political turbulence or even violence. From war-torn countries to underdeveloped nations, the United States stands as a beacon of freedom, hope, and opportunity to refugees. Others emigrate to the United States to pursue an education or employment.
Foreign citizens have many obstacles to hurdle before they can become naturalized. However, once they are and they’re prepared to work, immigrants make up a very large portion of the United States workforce. In fact, foreign-born workers are becoming more and more prevalent among the United States workforce. The occupational outlook for the next several decades indicates that more and more industries will see a higher employment rate of diverse immigrants. As an example, maids and cleaners, as an industry, is made up of 24% immigrant employees and this industry is expected to need over 100,000 additional workers in a mere 4 years (2024).
It needs to be said that immigrants make up an essential (and large) part of the workforce. There is a large portion of immigrants who work in the United States that are undocumented immigrants, but the fact of the matter is that there are millions of them and they are, in fact, essential to our economy. According to Pew Research Center, there are about 11.3 million undocumented immigrants living in the United States. The estimated 8 million unauthorized immigrants who are employed make up nearly 5% of the entire American workforce.
Virtually every industry within the US economy employs some percentage of immigrants, even if some industries hire more immigrants than others. For instance, immigrants make up nearly 25% of the service industry which includes trade jobs. Of course, there are industries that are opposite, hiring very few immigrants. These industries might include legal, life sciences, and community or social services.
There is a shortage of American workers for lower-wage jobs, which is a fascinating but frustrating debacle. The shortage ranges from construction work to child care, farmers to builders, likely a byproduct of the current political policies cracking down on immigration and refugees entering the country. Political views are staunchly divided in that some Americans truly believe immigration policies should be reduced while almost one-third of the population said they believed immigration should increase.
Baby boomers are beginning to retire. According to Pew Research, as reported by Monster, there are around 41,000,000 baby boomers employed within the United States right now. As they retire, who will fill their workforce gap?
The answer may be in the future of immigration in the United States.