May 2, 2005

Latino Labor Report, 2004

V. Changes in Employment by Industry

The construction industry continued to lean on foreign-born Latinos to fill its need for workers in 2004. These workers presently make up almost 20 percent of the construction work force. Immigrant Latinos added 226,000 workers to the construction industry payroll in 2004 (Table 3). That amounted to 40 percent of the total growth in employment of 571,000 in the construction industry. The construction industry also created jobs for 316,000 native-born non- Hispanic workers but present trends indicate that their role in the industry is diminishing.

Foreign-born Hispanics and native-born non-Hispanics shared sizeable job growth in three other industries: professional and other business services; eating, drinking and lodging services; and hospitals and other health services. Collectively, these industries generated 351,000 jobs for immigrant Latinos and 683,000 jobs for native-born non-Latinos in 2004. Two of these industries—eating, drinking and lodging services and hospitals and other health services— created 195,000 new jobs for native-born Hispanic workers. Another leading source of new jobs for native-born Latinos was the wholesale and retail trade industry.

Repeating a simple and well known pattern, manufacturing continued to shed jobs for Hispanic and non-Hispanic workers in 2004. That result is evident in Table 4 which shows the five industries that led to the biggest losses in employment for the different groups of workers during 2004. Native-born Hispanics lost 96,000 jobs in manufacturing, durable and nondurable, and 367,000 native-born non-Hispanics shared their loss in 2004. Foreign-born Hispanics also lost some manufacturing jobs, namely, 79,000 in the nondurable goods sector. However, in a major exception, foreign-born Hispanics gained 101,000 jobs in durable goods manufacturing in 2004 (see Table 3).

In addition to manufacturing, another sector that shed jobs almost across the board was repair and maintenance services. Native-born Hispanics lost 24,000 jobs in this industry. However, immigrant Hispanics secured an additional 31,000 jobs in repair and maintenance services (data not shown in table). Another pair of opposing trends was in the personal and laundry services and private household services industries. Native-born Hispanics lost 44,000 jobs in these industries in 2004 even as foreign-born Latinos gained 41,000 jobs at the same time (data not shown). For non-Hispanics, publishing, broadcasting, communication and information services proved to be second biggest source of job losses after manufacturing.

Overall, the evidence on the change in employment by industry shows that there was a degree of commonality in the industries that hired and shed Hispanic and non-Hispanic workers. But, as shown in the next section, there remains a considerable difference in the type of jobs these workers perform. That difference—a consequence of the difference in age, education and nativity—is reflected in the employment trends for Latino and other workers by occupation in 2004.