the share of workers born outside the United States has returned to its 2019 level

The share of foreign-born workers in the U.S. workforce in 2021 returned to pre-pandemic 2019 levels as the country faces a significant labor shortage. “In 2021, the foreign-born share of the U.S. civilian workforce returned to pre-pandemic levels of 17.4% in 2019 from 17.0% in 2020”the Department of Labor (BLS) said in a statement on Wednesday.

In total number of workers, however, the level of 2019 was not found: the country then had 28.4 million workers born outside the United States, but they were only 27.9 million in 2021. Between 2020 and 2021, 671,000 people came to swell the ranks, but not enough to make up for the deficit linked to the pandemic. The size of the US-born labor force remained virtually unchanged, the Labor Department said.

Among the foreign-born, the labor force participation rate is higher than among those born in the United States (64.7% versus 61%). The proportion of workers is greater among men born outside the borders (76.8%) than among those born in the country (65.8%). On the other hand, it is reversed in women. With in particular a very significant gap among mothers: a large half (60.1%) of women born abroad and having at least one minor child, have a job or are looking for one, compared to almost three quarters (74.6%) of women born in the United States.

The pandemic and then the recovery accelerated labor shortages. The president of the American central bank (Fed), Jerome Powell, had warned Tuesday that it could last, and had mentioned an immigration “very weak” for several years. The labor market participation rate is changing little, and remained in April 1.2 percentage points lower than its February 2020 level. This is pushing employers to increase wages to attract candidates, and contributes to inflation . In April, wages were up 0.3% compared to March, and 5.5% year on year.

However, this jump is insufficient to offset record inflation, which admittedly slowed down a little in April, to 8.3%, according to the Commerce Department’s CPI index, but remains very close to its highest level in 40 years.


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