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Joint Economic Committee Democrats Chairman - Senator Martin Heinrich (D-NM)

The Contributions of Immigrants Are Essential to U.S. Economic Growth and Competitiveness

Key Points:
After being disproportionately impacted by the pandemic recession, immigrants have been essential to the U.S. economic recovery
Immigrants work in a wide range of industries and make the economy more resilient
Immigrants help strengthen the care sector
Immigrants are key to growing the U.S. workforce, as population growth fell to record lows

As the United States continues its recovery from the pandemic recession, immigrant workers are essential to the continued growth of the labor force and overall productivity. In order to continue adding jobs at a strong pace, the U.S. economy needs more foreign-born workers to drive innovation and business formation. 

The United States is currently experiencing a shortfall in the number of immigrant workers. This has exacerbated service disruptions and labor shortages in vital industries that rely on immigrant workers, like leisure and hospitality. However, the impact of this shortfall extends beyond just the industries in which foreign-born workers perform a significant share of the labor. For example, immigrants also help counteract the slowing growth rate of the U.S. population, which helps drive the expansion of the labor force and contributes to overall economic growth.  

The U.S. labor market benefits from the contributions of immigrant workers. Foreign-born workers are more likely to participate in the labor force than their native-born peers. As a result, immigrants have helped power the U.S. economic recovery by returning quickly to work, despite being disproportionately affected by job losses during the pandemic.

The importance of foreign-born workers will only continue to grow over time, as these workers remain vital to sectors that drive economic innovation and competitiveness. For example, jobs in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math), which rely on the contributions of immigrants, are projected to continue growing faster than other occupations. Similarly, foreign-born workers are vital to the care industry, shouldering a significant share of the work performed by home health care and child care workers. Immigrant workers, a significant share of them women, are also helping to meet the growing demand for caregivers as the overall population ages.  

The Biden administration has taken steps to overturn the extreme and restrictive immigration policies of the previous administration. Growing the number of immigrant workers through reforms to immigration laws would also strengthen the U.S. economy and create opportunities for all workers and families.  

Read the full report.