The State of Ever-Changing American Workforce: 3 Emerging Trends to Consider

Whether you’re a business owner, investor or member of the workforce, the economy is more than likely always in the back of your mind.

Although the United States’ economic situation now may be statistically strong and stable, the decade-old recession still looms. As such, we’re constantly thinking about not only where we’ve been as workers, but where we’re going.

And just as the economy has made a significant tick upward since then, the state of the American workforce has changed significantly as well.

From the makeup of the average American worker to significant economic trends, we’ve highlighted three big-picture pointers for both business owners and investors to understand. The following represent key factors in what’s spurring the workforce and likewise what deserves the public’s attention.

The Impact of Immigration

As highlighted by Remitly, 17% of the overall U.S. workforce was made up of immigrants in 2017. This number is the highest in decades in terms of immigrant representation, with the top three countries of origin for such workers being Mexico, India and the Philippines.

Although there exists a stereotype of immigrants working low-skill jobs, the fact remains that such workers cover a diverse variety of roles and industries including IT, healthcare and sales in addition to manual labor.

Settling down throughout the country, this rise in immigrant workers speaks to the sheer diversity of the American worker in terms of backgrounds and relevant experience. While legislative battles over the state of immigration in the United States remain a hot-button issue, the contributions of these workers are well-documented.

The Challenges of Women in the Workforce

With the prominence of female CEOS such as Mary Barra and Ginni Rometty, conventional wisdom would tell us that society is making significant progress in terms of women in the workforce.

However,  working women still face many challenges as participation has in fact fallen and stagnated since the new millennium. Why? Consider issues such as…

  • Lack of guaranteed paid maternity leave
  • Wage gap and wage disputes based on education level
  • Societal expectations for women to drop out of the workforce in the case of motherhood, a family member needing care and so on

While some of these challenges are up for debate and remain rather controversial in terms of the wage gap, the numbers don’t lie in terms of the downward trend of female participation. Whether or not this trend will continue remains to be seen.

The Remote Work Revolution

Finally, consider that approximately 4 million people work from home at least half-time in the United States. Foregoing the traditional nine-to-five grind and commute, consumers and companies alike are cozying to the idea of workers getting down to business beyond the office walls.

This represents a huge consideration for current brick and mortar space as well as prospective business owners looking to set up shop. The lack of investing in a location is a game-changer for businesses, as is the emerging technology which makes doing work remotely easier than ever. That said, making the transition is undoubtedly a challenge for those already in business.

One thing is crystal clear: there’s no denying the diversity of the American workforce between booming immigrant labor, a changing social climate for women and the rise of remote work. We’ll have to play a good old-fashioned game of “wait and see” to understand where these trends are going and how they’ll continue to impact the economy at large.