Workforce growth in the United States is barely 1% a year. Work injury frequency continues to decline. Where can an insurer or TPA look to find any growth in business?
There are, in fact, several major occupational groups which are growing much faster than the rest, and which also bear a higher than average injury risk. A remarkable five job clusters, responsible for about 30% of lost time compensable injuries today, are indeed growing in numbers of workers. And they have high shares of foreign-born workers. Nationwide, foreign-born workers (many are naturalized citizens, and a third are unauthorized to work) make up 17% of the workforce.
This class of construction worker provides more employment than there are electricians, carpenters, and painters combined. Their numbers are growing towards about 2.4 million in 2022. One third of them are foreign born, double the economy-wide participation of immigrants. About 5% of lost time compensable injuries occur within this occupation.
Janitors and industrial housekeepers
This group of occupations accounts for about 7% of lost time injuries in the country. In 2022 they will number 3.1 million workers, of which about 30% are foreign born.
These workers engage in what is commonly referred to as material handling. There will be about 2.6 million occupants of this job in 2022. They account for about 7.5% of all lost time compensable injuries. The ranks are about 15% foreign-born..
Inpatient nursing support jobs
This job cluster includes nurse assistants, which in 2022 will number about 1.7 million. They may account for 6% of all lost time compensable injuries. Incidentally, these are the first jobs included in this list of jobs that require not only a high school degree but some type of post high school certification. The foreign-born participation rate is probably about 20%.
Maids and lodging cleaners
In 2022 there will be 1.9 million of these workers, half of whom are foreign-born today. They account for 4% of lost time compensable injuries.
In sum, these five job clusters will be responsible for one-third of lost time compensable injuries in 2022, among the 160 million civilian workers. Here is where the demand upon the workers’ comp system is growing. And they include very many foreign-born workers.
This posting drew upon a column published in January, 2019, by workerscompensation.com
For more information from Peter on the topic of foreign-born workers, read his blog: “Working Immigrants.”