There is high unemployment in all top 10 H-2B jobs: Unemployment rates by industry and year-over-year increase, February 2020 and February 2021


H-2B rank Occupation H-2B jobs certified in 2020 Industry unemployment rate, Feb 2021 Industry unemployment rate, Feb 2020 Change in industry unemployment rate, Feb 2020 to Feb 2021
1 Landscaping and Groundskeeping Workers 73,948 13.5% 8.2% +5.3
2 Forest and Conservation Workers 11,117 10.5% 11.0% -0.5
3 Meat, Poultry, and Fish Cutters and Trimmers 11,059 5.4% 5.7% -0.3
4 Amusement and Recreation Attendants 9,314 17.0% 4.7% +12.3
5 Maids and Housekeeping Cleaners 9,256 16.5% 7.2% +9.3
6 Construction Laborers 3,854 9.6% 5.5% +4.1
7 Waiters and Waitresses 3,642 12.2% 5.7% +6.5
8 Cooks, Restaurant 3,287 12.2% 5.7% +6.5
9 Laborers and Freight, Stock, and Material Movers, Hand 3,057 8.9% 3.8% +5.1
10 Fast Food and Counter Workers 2,510 12.2% 5.7% +6.5
Total jobs certified in top 10 H-2B occupations in 2020 131,044

Notes: Top 10 H-2B occupations correspond to the following North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) codes: The industry associated with Landscaping and Groundskeeping Workers is Administrative and Support Services (NAICS 561). The industry associated with Forest and Conservation Workers is Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing, and Hunting (NAICS 11). The industry associated with Meat, Poultry, and Fish Cutters and Trimmers is Food Manufacturing (NAICS 311). The industry associated with Amusement and Recreation Attendants is Arts, Entertainment, and Recreation (NAICS 71). The industry associated with Maids and Housekeeping Cleaners is Accommodation (NAICS 721). The industry associated with Construction Laborers is Construction (NAICS 23). The industry associated with Waiters and Waitresses; Cooks, Restaurant; and Fast-Food and Counter Workers is Food Services and Drinking Places (NAICS 722). The industry associated with Laborers and Freight, Stock, and Material Movers, Hand is Transportation and Warehousing (NAICS 48-49).

Source: EPI analysis of fiscal year 2020 disclosure data on H-2B labor certifications from the Office of Foreign Labor Certification's Performance Data. Industry unemployment rates available from U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Industries at a Glance, Industries by Supersector and NAICS Code (various NAICS codes), March 2021. Unemployment rates based on BLS analysis of Current Employment Statistics and Current Population Survey data.

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