Unauthorized immigrants made up 5.1% of the U.S. labor force in 2012, but accounted for 14% of construction workers, according to a new report from Pew Research Center.
While more unauthorized immigrants work in white collar jobs than before the 2007-2009 recession, “a solid majority” works in low-skilled construction, service, and production occupations, the center reported.
Still, the number of unauthorized immigrants in construction or production jobs fell by about 475,000 between 2007 and 2012, the study said.
The dip in the number of unauthorized immigrants working in construction reflects the migration of that population into white-collar jobs, the report said. While the size of the unauthorized immigrant labor force remained steady between 2007 and 2012, the share working in management and professional jobs grew from 10% to 13%.
Despite that change, however, Pew noted that unauthorized immigrant workers “remain concentrated in lower-skill jobs, much more so than U.S.-born workers.”