Foreign-Born Employment Remains Strong

Written by Richard Hokenson 

Recently released annual data on foreign-born workers (defined as individuals who reside in the U.S., but were born outside the country to parents who were not American citizens) reveals that their share of America’s labor force has risen steadily in the last six years following a dip during the Global Financial Crisis (see Chart 1). Much of the media commentary expressed the concern that this trend might be interrupted by recent efforts to overhaul U.S. immigration policy.


Monthly data on foreign-born employment, however, does not necessarily support that concern – foreign-born employment increased by 894,000 between April 2016 and April 2017 (see Chart 2). Since the foreign-born include legally admitted immigrants, refugees, temporary residents such as students and temporary workers, and undocumented immigrants and BLS does not identify the number of persons in those categories, it is conceivable that much of the increase came from persons that are not at risk. It is something that we will continue to monitor as growth in the U.S. labor force is a very important component underlying economic growth.


This update was researched and written by Richard Hokenson, as of May 26 2017