Growth in the North Carolina Hispanic Labor Force 2010-2020

<p>We recently published that there has been growth in both the Hispanic Population and Labor Force. &nbsp;This article follows up with additional information to put this growth in context.</p>

Author: Jeff Rosenthal

September 15- October 15, 2021 was declared Hispanic Heritage Month in North Carolina.  

In a separate article, we noted great growth in the Hispanic population in North Carolina.  We noted that population growth was at nearly 40% from 2010 to 2020, representing the third fastest growth rate (after Pennsylvania and Washington) among states with at least 1 million Hispanic residents in 2020.  We also noted that the Hispanic Labor Force in North Carolina grew by approximately 208,000 - which represents a 59% increase from 2010 to 2020.  Each of these growth rates shows much greater growth rates than their non-Hispanic counterparts (7% for population and 4% for labor force).  

This follow-up entry focuses on three factors to put this growth in context.

      1. The growth we see is part of a national trend   

This is part of a larger national picture that is occurring for our country.  The U.S. Department of Labor (DoL) noted that Non-Hispanic growth in the labor force was only 0.5% from 2010-2020, while Hispanic growth was at 4.5%.  According to projections by the DoL, labor force growth will continue through 2030, when Hispanics are projected to make up 21.2% of the U.S. labor force – up from 18.0% in 2020.

      2. This growth does not necessarily imply an increase of immigrants

As seen in our previous post, part of the reason why there is a sharper increase among Hispanics rather than non-Hispanics is that the proportion of Hispanics that are of prime working age is considerably larger than the proportion of non-Hispanic people of prime working age, indicating a younger population.  One may jump to the conclusion that these younger workers may be largely immigrants, but Carolina Demography shows that currently, a majority of the Hispanic population in North Carolina was born in the United States.  

Based on analysis of the 2010 and 2020 Current Population Surveys for Hispanic North Carolinians in the labor force aged 16 and above with data about their birthplace, in 2010, only about 15% were born in the United States while in 2020, about 38% were born in the United States.

North Carolina Hispanic Civilian Labor Force 16 year and older*

Year Foreign Born Native Born Total
2010 298,521 53,644 352,165
2020 347,437 210,219 557,656
#Growth 48,916 156,575 205,491
%Growth 16.4% 291.9% 58.4%
*Source: Author analysis of IPUMS- Current Population Survey.  
Analysis only on those who had valid data for place of birth.

This shows the especially strong growth - almost a quadrupling of the size of the U.S.-born Hispanic Labor Force in North Carolina from 2010 to 2020.

     3. Despite strong growth, representation in particular industries remains consistent

What types of industries are Hispanics working in?

In 2010, the three industries that Hispanics worked in the most in North Carolina were: Construction (29.4%), Manufacturing (12.9%), and Accommodation & Food Services (12.6%).  While this percentage does not appear to be all that different than non-Hispanics for Manufacturing (12.7%), these appear higher than Construction (6.7%) and Accommodation & Food Services (7.1%) amongst non-Hispanics.

In 2020, the three top industries amongst Hispanics continued to be Construction (21.1%), Manufacturing (13.8%), and Accommodation & Food Services (10.4%).  

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