This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2015, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
Immigrants in Utah now are more likely than U.S.-born residents to hold jobs in five of 13 major industrial sectors here.
They are construction, leisure and hospitality, manufacturing, administrative services (which includes jobs ranging from telemarketing to loan collections and security companies) and "other services" (including such things as repairing automobiles, electronics and garden equipment).
That's according to a study released Monday by The Pew Charitable Trusts' Immigration and the States Project.
It used census data to calculate ratios for how likely foreign- and U.S.-born workers are to be employed in individual industries in the state and nation.
A ratio of 1 indicates that U.S.-born residents and immigrants are equally likely to be employed in an industry.
Greater than 1 indicates that foreign-born workers have more than their expected share of jobs. To illustrate, 9 percent of all immigrant workers nationwide hold jobs in construction, compared with 6 percent of U.S.-born workers. Therefore, immigrants are 1.5 times more likely to work in it, so that industry's ratio is 1.5 nationally.
Ratios, figured by Pew, for Utah industries where immigrants are more likely to hold jobs than U.S.-born workers are:
• Construction, a ratio of 1.9
• Leisure and hospitality, 1.8
• Manufacturing, 1.6
• Administrative services, 1.5
• Other services, 1.3
The ratios for Utah industries in which U.S.-born citizens are more likely to work include 0.3 for public administration; 0.6 each for information, and for finance and real estate; 0.7 each for agriculture and extraction, education services, health care and social services, and professional, scientific, technical and management services; and 0.8 for trade, transportation and utilities.
The report notes that some industries nationally are likely to attract far more than their share of immigrants, while others attract far more than their share of U.S.-born residents.
For example, immigrants are more likely than U.S.-born workers to be employed in leisure and hospitality in 48 states (all but North Dakota and Michigan), the most of any industry.
Similarly, immigrants are more likely to work in manufacturing in 43 states.
In contrast, immigrants are less likely to be employed in the information sector everywhere except Virginia, and in the finance and real estate sector everywhere except Washington, D.C.
In no state are immigrants more likely to work in the public administration sector.
The study lists some possible reasons for the job disparities.
Education is a key reason, with immigrants concentrated at both ends of the education spectrum. More immigrants than U.S.-born residents have less than a high school diploma (although they are about as likely to have a bachelor's degree or higher).
So, "they are disproportionately employed in low-skill industries, such as accommodations and food services, and in high-skill industries such as information and high-tech manufacturing" nationally.
Difficulty with speaking English is a drawback for many immigrants. "High-skilled immigrants who have limited English are twice as likely to be underemployed that is, working in jobs that do not fully utilize their skills."
Also, some foreign-born workers have difficulty with credentialing bodies that will not recognize training or experience they gained abroad.
Lack of legal status hurts some immigrants. "For example, only citizens qualify for certain government jobs," it said.
And undocumented immigrants "tend to be concentrated in sectors with high numbers of low-skilled jobs."
The study notes that immigrants now make up 13 percent of the U.S. population and 17 percent of the national workforce.