Immigrant Workers Expected to Ease America’s Labor Shortage Over Coming Decade
A new report from the American Immigration Council dubbed “Amid Rising Inflation, Immigrant Workers Help Ease Labor Shortages” has shown that immigrant workers will play a growing role in filling the fastest-growing jobs in the U.S. in the coming years. The researchers found in the report that in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, which disrupted the country’s supply chains and prevented many workers from returning to the workplace, immigrant workers are playing a significant role in ensuring there are enough workers in these occupations.
The disruption that COVID-19 caused in the supply chains is still a problem, despite the still high demand for goods and services, and many workers have not yet returned to work. This has caused an enormous nationwide labor shortage along with a high inflation rate.
In creating the report, the researchers used the Bureau of Labor Statistics employment projections and information from Burning Glass and the American Community Survey to show how the labor market has been changed by COVID-19 and the role that immigrant workers will play in the workforce.
The jobs with some of the highest number of openings during the pandemic have been for healthcare workers, such as surgeons, doctors, and nurses. Workers in these professions are some of the most likely to be immigrants. Specifically, immigrants make up a larger percentage at 15.6% of the workers in these occupations than they do of the overall population, 13.7%. Other occupations that have been considered essential throughout the pandemic have seen growth over the previous couple of years, such as construction and food preparation, and employ large numbers of immigrant workers, considerably higher than their representation in the overall population.
Growth patterns are expected to change over the coming decade, including in healthcare support roles, web development, construction, and food preparation. Healthcare support workers are expected to fuel some of the highest employment growth through 2030. This is due in part to aging baby boomers, and immigrants will likely be an important part of keeping up with the demand for these workers. Already, immigrant workers fill 22.4% of these roles.
Computer and math-related fields such as statistics and web development, which have seen little growth in recent years, are expected to become some of the fastest-growing throughout the next decade. This is a field where immigrant workers have played an enormous role, with 24.7% of these roles filled by immigrant workers in 2019, and this trend will likely continue.
However, this growing reliance on immigrant workers can make completing the Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, more difficult due to the wide range of documentation employers may be presented. Fortunately, an electronic I-9 management tool can help by guiding hiring personnel through the complete process and ensuring that forms and documentation are stored correctly.
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