May 9, 2020

Immigrants make up nearly a third of Florida’s ‘essential’ workforce, new study finds [Miami Herald]

Lautaro Grinspan writes:

"Essential workers were recently feted in South Florida with a thunderous flyover by the Navy’s Blue Angels.

But who makes up the state’s essential workforce? A new report out of the Florida Policy Institute (FPI) [emphasis added] strives to provide some answers.

Among the key findings: Nearly a third of all the workers on the front lines of Florida’s coronavirus pandemic are immigrants — a group that includes those both with and without legal status. Nationwide, that figure stands at just 17%.

Women and African Americans are also over-represented in the state’s essential workforce, the study found.


“I was noticing a lot of praise and appreciation for essential workers but without any context of who they are and what their needs might be,” said Alexis Davis, FPI policy analyst and report author [emphasis added].

Based on a recent analysis of Census data by the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR), Davis’ report also highlights that women represent 63% of Florida’s essential workers. Black Floridians are also over-represented, making up 22% of all essential workers in the state but just 16% of the total workforce.

Davis said she was not surprised by the findings.

“It generally makes sense to us that roles that are higher-risk and with lower wages are going to be dominated by immigrants and other vulnerable groups like women and people of color,” she said.


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