Construction increasingly depends on immigrant workers

The deaths of six immigrant workers in the Francis Scott Key Bridge collapse in Baltimore on March 26 shines a light on the critical role of foreign-born labor in construction. Foreign-born labor may not be formally well educated but they increasingly provide the muscle for much of construction, repair and maintenance.  These are some of the highest paying jobs for workers without advanced formal skills and without English proficiency.

The latest American Community Survey data of 2022 show that 11.8 million workers, including self-employed and temporarily unemployed, comprised the construction workforce in 2022. Out of these, 8.9 million were native-born, and 2.9 million or 25% were foreign-born, the highest number of immigrant workers in construction ever recorded by the ACS. (Go here).

In New York and New Jersey, 37% of the construction workforce were foreign born, according to a 2020 report br the the National Association of Home Builders. Nationwide, the growth of the U.S. born construction workforce has lagged well behind that of the foreign-born workforce. (Go here).



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