New Data Reveals How Immigration Can Help Meet Labor Demands and Move the US Economy Forward

May 4, 2022

WASHINGTON—New data released today by the American Immigration Council examines how immigration can help meet labor demands and steer the U.S. economy back on track. The report, “Amid Rising Inflation, Immigrant Workers Help Ease Labor Shortages,” analyzes how the demand for various occupations across the entire U.S. labor market have changed since before the COVID-19 pandemic and which occupations are expected to increase between 2020 and 2030.

As America faces a labor crisis, grapples with the highest levels of inflation since the 1980s, and U.S. job openings hit an 11.5 million record high in March, this report exposes the need for immigrant workers to make up for the labor shortfall and shows the importance of immigration in creating a sustainable economy.

The report draws on data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the American Community Survey, and job openings from Burning Glass to assess how the labor market has shifted since pre-pandemic times, which occupations will experience increased demand, and the role of immigrant workers in occupations that have the highest growth potential over the next decade.

“Our findings reveal that not only are the most in-demand jobs now expected to continue to outpace the supply of available labor in the near term, but by 2030 millions of additional workers will be needed to fill new jobs and those vacated by retiring workers. While young people entering the workforce will fill many jobs, the gap between the demand and a diminishing supply of U.S.-born workers suggest that more workers will need to come from abroad to make up for the shortfall—or these positions will go unfilled,” said Andrew Lim, research director at the American Immigration Council. “While the COVID-19 pandemic brought massive disruptions to the U.S. labor market, our research found that immigrants have been a stabilizing force, filling openings in essential occupations and helping to meet the demand for the fastest-growing jobs over the next decade.”

The main findings of the report include the following:

  • A tight labor market has left open jobs unfilled at an increasing rate. Of the 165.4 million jobs expected to exist in 2030, almost half, or 80.1 million, will be vacated by people retiring, changing careers, or leaving the labor market altogether.
  • Occupations that grew the most between 2019 to 2021 were the ones with large shares of immigrants.
  • Job growth patterns over the next decade are likely to be quite different from those seen during the pandemic.
  • U.S.-born workers are more likely than foreign-born workers to reach retirement age.
  • Younger workers are more likely to be foreign-born.
  • By 2030, the number of jobs in the United States is expected to reach 165.4 million, a net increase of more than 2.6 million jobs from 2019, before the pandemic.
  • While many jobs will be filled by people aging into the workforce, demographic trends suggest that the labor market in 2030 will still need more immigrant workers.

This new data is the first in a series of research pieces that will explore a variety of issues at the intersection of the U.S. economy and immigration. The Immigration and Labor Market Series can be accessed here.



 For more information, contact:

Maria Frausto at the American Immigration Council, [email protected] or 202-507-7526.

Media Contact

Elyssa Pachico
[email protected]

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