Immigrant Entrepreneurs Creating Jobs and Strengthening the U.S. Economy in Growing Industries: Transportation, Food and Building Services

with a Regional View of Massachusetts, New York and Pennsylvania and a Focus on the Green Economy
Fast Facts, April 2013

Immigrant entrepreneurs play an outsized role in the transportation, food-related and building services industries when compared to their population numbers. All of these industries are showing strong job growth except for certain food-related sub-sectors. Even within these sub-sectors, there is evidence that immigrants are encouraging growth through the increasing demand for ethnic foods.

Revenue employment growth across sectors
Click to download:
Fast Facts (PDF)
Full Report (PDF)



Click to download Transportation fact sheet
Transportation is not just a fast-growing industry. It is also crucial to the well-being of many other industries because it influences the flow of goods and services. All the transportation sub-sectors are projected to have employment growth. Support Activities for Transportation leads the way with 17.4 percent projected employment growth from 2008 to 2018.

Immigrants are making a major contribution in transportation as workers and business owners. This graph shows the relative share of immigrant entrepreneurs in each sub-segment compared with their share of the U.S. population.

Share of Self-Employed in Select U.S. Transportation Industry Sub-Sectors: Foreign-Born and Native

Click here for a video interview with Larry Dossantos of 912 Auto Center in Dorchester, MA, one of the entrepreneurs featured in the study.
Click to download the Transportation fact sheet (PDF).



Click to download Food Industry fact sheet
Food is one industry that touches every American.

Trends in this industry impact Americans’ health and quality of life. One area that has experienced significant growth is ethnic food (food that is typical of a style or region and characteristic of a particular culture).

Ethnic food sales reached a record $2.2 billion in 2009 and are projected to advance another 20 percent by 2014 according to Mintel industry research reports.

Share of Self-Employed in Select U.S. Food-Related Industry Sub-Sectors: Foreign-Born and Native

Click here for a video interview with Helene and Thomas Stohr of swissbakers in Reading and Allston, MA, entrepreneurs featured in the study.
Click to download the Food fact sheet (PDF).


Building Services

Click to download Building Services fact sheet
The building services industry is a good source of entry-level jobs for immigrants because they often do not require much English language skill. Many of these jobs are physically demanding or involve odd hours, overnight work and low pay. So, it is not surprising that many of these ambitious immigrants make the transition from worker to entrepreneur.

The two sub-segments in this industry are growing at astounding rates. Employment growth is projected to be 18.2 percent in Services to Buildings and Dwellings and 25.2 percent in Waste Management and Remediation Services. The robust presence of immigrants in these sub-sectors is just as striking. In Waste Management and Remediation Services, immigrants represent more than two-thirds of workers and nearly three-quarters of entrepreneurs.

Share of Workers and Entrepreneurs in Select U.S. Building Services Industry Sub-Sectors: Foreign-Born and Native

Click to download the Building Services fact sheet (PDF).

Spread the word