Do poorly educated immigrant workers compete with or complement their native-born peers?

Low skilled jobs in America are increasing in numbers. Per the Urban Institute, Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that, by 2022, there will 4 million additional jobs in occupations that do not require a high school diploma. Who will fill these jobs – foreign born or native born workers?

Maria Enchautegui of the Urban Institute finds that:

In 2013, the foreign-born population accounted for 44% of the 16 million workers that have no high school diploma. [About 25% of foreign born workerd, or 7 million, have no HS degree, and about  7% or 9 million native born workers have no HS degree. About half of the American workforce in 1960 had not completed high school.]

The top three occupations with the largest number of immigrants without high school diploma are maids and house cleaners, cooks, and miscellaneous agricultural workers.

In contrast, the occupations with the largest number of native workers without high school degrees are cashiers, truck drivers, and janitors and building cleaners.

The top three occupations in which less-educated immigrants are most over-represented are miscellaneous personal appearance workers, such as manicurists (87% immigrant); workers who grade, sort, and classify unprocessed food and other agricultural products (82%); and sewing-machine operators (81%).

The top three occupations in which less-educated natives are most over-represented are counter attendants in cafeterias, food concession stands, and coffee shops (86% native workers); hosts and hostesses at restaurants, lounges, and coffee shops (85%); and receptionists and information clerks (81%).

PFR: The complementary profile of the two work forces can be seen in injury risk. Immigrant workers tend to be over-represented in jobs with low educational requirements that have double the injury risk of these kinds of jobs dominated by native-born workers.

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