Undocumented workers and the LFPR
September 15, 2014 8:35 AM   Subscribe

Does the labor force participation rate account for undocumented workers?
posted by wobdev to Society & Culture (2 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
According to this bulletin about foreign born workers form BLS, undocumented workers are counted but they are not specifically split out as their own category of worker.
posted by jessamyn at 8:50 AM on September 15, 2014

From the current employment statistics FAQ page:

"Are undocumented immigrants counted in the CES estimates?

It is likely that the CES survey includes at least some undocumented immigrants. However, the establishment survey is not designed to identify the legal status of workers. Therefore, it is not possible to determine how many are counted in the survey.

The Current Population Survey (CPS), also known as the household survey, does include questions which identify the foreign and native born employees, but it does not include questions about the legal status of the foreign born employees. More information about foreign born employees in the CPS survey is available at www.bls.gov/cps/demographics.htm#foreignborn."

Similarly, from the definitions page of the Current Population Survey:

"Undocumented immigrants or illegal aliens: Because all residents of the United States living in households are represented in the sample of households interviewed by the CPS, undocumented immigrants or illegal aliens are probably included in CPS data. Because the CPS makes no attempt to ascertain the legal status of any person interviwed, these individuals cannot be identified from CPS data."

However, "one could imagine that undocumented workers might be reluctant to disclose their labor market activities to the survey interviewer, despite the pledge of confidentiality that is given to all respondents." So they may be underrepresented. See p.31 of this article.
posted by Mr.Know-it-some at 10:26 AM on September 15, 2014

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