Studies Find Immigrants Essential to Filling Minnesota Jobs

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 When it comes to workforce replenishment, immigrants are not only important: they are essential. That's the conclusion of several studies, with findings that challenge a common perception that immigrants are stealing jobs from U.S.-born citizens at a time when jobs are scarce.

Based on figures from State Economist Tom Stinson and State Demographer Tom Gillaspy, a 2009 report produced by the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce and other members of the Minnesota Business Immigrant Coalition, explains that, “Unlike native-born Americans, who are aging rapidly and creating what some have called a ‘silver tsunami,’ immigrants are generally in their prime working years when they come to the United States, thus providing a crucial infusion to the work force.” The report adds that without new, young workers, “certain sectors of the economy will continue to contract.”

“Obviously, one of the ways to increase the size of our future workforce is to welcome and educate young immigrants coming to our region,“ writes Craig Helmstetter, a Wilder Foundation researcher, in Immigration In the Twin Cities: 10 Things to Know.

There are several far-reaching implications if the workforce is not replenished. According to A New Age of Immigrants: Making Immigration Work for Minnesota, a study commissioned by Wilder and the Minneapolis Foundations, “Many policymakers and economists warn that the entitlement systems of Medicare and Social Security will topple and fall if they are not supported by the labor of younger workers, both immigrants and native-born alike.” The League of Minnesota Cities points to National Research Council and Social Security Administration reports, both of which show that younger immigrants “have a positive impact on the financials of government programs, including Social Security.”

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