DALLAS, Texas (McClatchy) — The number of foreign-born workers in the U.S. labor force has reached 27.4 million, or 17.1 percent of the total number of workers, according to figures released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The annual report includes foreign-born workers who are in the country legally and illegally, as well as students, refugees and those who may be temporary workers. The data does not separate out the number of undocumented workers in the country.
The numbers also show the share of immigrants in the labor force continues to grow. In 2016, there were 27 million foreign-born workers in the U.S. or 16.9 percent of the labor force. In 2000, by comparison, the percentage of of foreign-born workers was at 13.3 percent.
The numbers also come at a time when President Trump has promised policies that protect American workers and keep illegal immigrants out of the country.
According to the BLS, the unemployment rate for foreign-born workers was lower than that of workers who were U.S. natives.
In 2017, the unemployment rate for foreign-born workers was 4.1 percent, compared to 4.4 percent for U.S. natives.
Hispanics made up the largest share of foreign-born workers by far, at 47.9 percent. Asians made up 25.2 percent of the group.
The survey also showed foreign-born workers were more likely to work in service industries and less likely to work in managerial or professional jobs than U.S. natives.
They were also more likely to have jobs in the West than any other region of the country, the data show. In the West, they were 24.1 percent of the labor force, in the Northeast 19.6 percent, in the South 16.2 percent and in the Midwest 8.8 percent.