[Ed. – Yet we’re so far from full employment among the native-born, it’s likely we don’t “need” any of the foreign-born workers to have a health economy. I say that as a person who supports legal immigration and always has. What I DON’T support is U.S. policies that line the government’s pocket by making native-born labor too expensive to compete. Government, as usual, is the problem.]
The number of foreign-born workers in the U.S. rose to nearly 27 million in 2016, up about 700,000 from the previous year and representing 16.9 percent of the nation’s labor force, according to an annual report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics released Thursday. That’s the highest proportion in records going back to 1996, when immigrants accounted for just 10.8 percent of the workforce.
The share has risen steadily over the last six years following a slight dip during the last recession when foreign-born workers suffered disproportionately as the collapse in the housing market took a toll on construction employment. From 1996 to 2016, the entire labor force rose by about 25 million, half of which came from gains among those born outside the U.S., the data show.