Foreign born workforce growth and distribution

The Congressional Budget Office builds from the Current Population Survey profiles of the foreign born work force as growing more rapidly than the native born and as forming an hour glass demographic shape. People born in other countries represent a substantial and growing segment of the U.S. labor force—that is, people with a job or looking for one. In 2009, 24 million members of the labor force—more than one in seven—were foreign born, up from 21 million in 2004.
Growth of the foreign born labor force since 1994:
In 2009, 24 million members of the labor force were foreign born, up from 21 million in 2004 and 13 million in 1994. Between 1994 and 2004, both the native-born and foreign-born labor forces increased by about 8 million. That relationship was different between 2004 and 2009: Over that period, the native-born labor force grew by 4.3 million, while the foreign-born labor force grew by only 2.5 million.
Although the growth of the foreign-born labor force slowed appreciably from the 1994–2004 period to the 2004–2009 period, it still was considerably faster than the growth of the native-born labor force.
The average annual growth of the foreign-born labor force slowed from about 5.2 percent to about 2.2 percent between the two periods. In contrast, that rate for the native-born labor force was less than 1 percent in each of the two periods.
The composition of the foreign-born labor force also changed between 1994 and 2009. Although workers from Mexico and Central America constituted a minority in the foreign-born labor force during that period, their number grew at a faster rate than did the number of workers from the rest of the world. The total size of the foreign-born labor force increased by 11 million. Of that number, 5 million were from Mexico and Central America, and 6 million were from the rest of the world—corresponding to average annual growth rates of 5.0 percent and 3.7 percent, respectively. As a result, the share of the foreign-born labor force from Mexico and Central America increased from 36 percent in 1994 to 40 percent in 2009
The hour glass shape of the foreign born worker population:
Hispanic working immigrants are less educated, and non-Hispanic workers better educated than native Americans.
Those born in Mexico and Central America are constituting an increasingly large share of the least educated portions of the labor force. For example, in 2009 they made up 64 percent of labor force participants with at most an 8th grade education—a figure that was 58 percent in 2004.
On average, the weekly earnings of men from Mexico and Central America who
worked full time were just over half those of native-born men; women from Mexico and Central America earned about three-fifths of the average weekly earnings of native-born women.
Foreign-born workers who came to the United States from places other than Mexico and Central America were employed in a much broader range of occupations. They were more than twice as likely as native-born workers to be in fields such as computer and mathematical sciences, which generally require at least a college education. Their average weekly earnings were similar to those of native-born men and women.

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