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New JEC Report Shows Immigration is Essential to U.S. Economic Strength

The U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee—led by Chairman Don Beyer (D-VA)—released a new report highlighting the significant contributions immigrants make to the U.S. economy and its recovery from the pandemic. 

Among the report’s key findings:

  • Immigrants helped power the economic recovery. Foreign-born workers were hit disproportionately hard by the pandemic but returned to work quicker than their native-born peers. Today, 64% of foreign-born workers are employed, compared to 59% of native-born workers.

  • Immigrants have been consistently more likely than native-born workers to be actively engaged in the labor force and help counteract the slowing growth rate of the U.S. population. For decades, the labor force participation rate of foreign-born workers has remained higher than that of native-born workers. And as U.S. population growth has slowed, falling to a record low in 2021, immigrant workers are key to meeting both existing hiring needs and to advance future economic growth. 

  • Immigrant workers make the economy more resilient and innovative, but the U.S. is facing an immigration shortfall. Overall, about 3 in 20 American workers are foreign-born, but immigrants are overrepresented in some of the fastest growing industries and among essential workers. For example, immigrants make up about 1 in 5 workers in education and health services, and in 2021, more than 40% of Fortune 500 companies were founded by an immigrant or the child of an immigrant.  

With the release of the report, Chairman Beyer released the following statement: 

“As this report makes clear, immigrants have been essential to our economic recovery, and immigration is vital to building a dynamic and resilient economy going forward. Although the pandemic interrupted our ability to attract immigrant workers, strengthening our immigration system will help to bolster the sectors that have proven so crucial over the last few years and to develop the industries that will solve the challenges of the future. If the United States is to compete on the global stage, we, as a nation, must work to create opportunities for all workers and families.” 

The JEC previously co-released a report with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus that highlighted how immigrants in the United States hold about $1.3 trillion in purchasing power, create around 1 in 4 new businesses and employ close to 8 million American workers.