Immigrants have long been an integral part of the U.S. workforce. And while there isn’t any one industry where immigrants make up the majority of workers, there are some jobs where foreign born workers dominate, a new report from Pew Research finds.
That’s especially the case in America’s beauty business, where immigrants made up 63% of those that provide services as manicurists and pedicurists, makeup artists, shampooers and skin care specialists. Slightly more than half of these workers (51%) were authorized to be in the country, while 12% of them were undocumented, Pew found in its analysis of 2014 Census Bureau data.
Pew also found that 60% of the workers who ensure that no bad fruits or vegetables get to supermarkets are immigrants.
Other jobs where immigrants made up more than half of the workforce included plasterers and stucco masons, sewing machine operators and farm workers.
Many of the jobs held by immigrants — especially those who are undocumented — pay low wages, said Jeffrey Passel, a senior demographer at Pew Research Center.
“Undocumented workers, as a group, tend to work in low-paying jobs that don’t require certifications, which is why you often find them working as drywall hangers or stucco masons, but don’t find them in plumbing and electrical work,” he said.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median hourly wage for a manicurist in 2014 was $9.43 and an agricultural sorter earned $9.57. Sewing machine operators earned $10.54 an hour. Construction helpers like painters and paperhangers earned $12.46 an hour, while plasterers and stucco masons earned a much higher wage of $18.05 an hour.
The Pew researchers found that there was no particular industry where immigrants were the majority of workers.
By Octavio Blanco for CNNMoney
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