By Natalia Siniavskaia | Eye On Housing
According to the most recent American Community Survey (ACS), the number of immigrant workers in construction approached 2.8 million in 2019, the highest level recorded by the ACS. Immigrant workers now account for 24% of the construction workforce, slightly below the 2016 record high share of 24.4%. The share of immigrants is higher in construction trades, reaching 30%. The latest statistics confirm that immigrant workers remain a vital source of labor to the construction industry amid ongoing skilled labor shortages exacerbated by a pandemic boost to housing demand.
The latest ACS data show that 11.5 million workers, including self-employed, worked in construction in 2019. Out of these, 8.7 million were native-born, and 2.8 million were foreign-born.
While the number of immigrant workers in construction reached a new record high, breaking the housing boom era record levels, the number of native-born workers in construction remained 7% below the cyclical high reached in 2006, when 9.4 million native-born workers were in construction.
“This article confirms how vital a role immigrants play in our workforce and overall economy, particularly in fields such as construction which will play a crucial role in our economic recovery as demand for new housing remains high. This is all the more reason we need to push for a comprehensive immigration reform package from Congress that addresses the large portion of our more than 12 million undocumented immigration population who make up a significant part of our workforce and would gladly apply for any kind of lawful immigration status made available to them as a part of congressional legislation or executive order. Definitely a situation worth monitoring as we bounce back from the pandemic.”
Darius Amiri, Rose Law Group Immigration Law Dept. Chair