New DEED research reports bringing more immigrants could ease labor shortage

Immigration’s impact on labor

Immigration's impact on labor

New research from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) shows that increasing international immigration to levels seen prior to 2015 could help offset a significant portion of the labor force decline. 

DEED Labor Market Information Office Regional Analyst Anthony Shaffhauser authored the research and said the pandemic exacerbated what was already a tightening labor market due to the aging population and the decline in working-age residents as Baby Boomers continue to retire. 

“The pandemic caused a steeper decline in an already declining immigration trend since 2016,” said Schaffhauser. “While the numbers may not seem big enough to affect our labor market overall — there are more than 3 million people in Minnesota’s workforce — they do make a big difference, especially in our ongoing tight labor market.” 

Schaffhauser’s full article can be viewed here.

“DEED is focused on doing everything we can to help Minnesota employers find the workers they need to grow and thrive,” said Interim DEED Commissioner Kevin McKinnon. “Minnesota manufacturers aren’t able to expand in some cases because they can’t find employees — and Minnesota nursing homes aren’t able to care for patients ready to be released from hospitals because they don’t have enough caregivers. Those are just two examples of the impact we’ve seen of workforce shortages across industries, throughout the state.” 

“New Americans play a vital role in meeting Minnesota’s workforce needs. In fact, from 2010-2020, foreign-born workers made up more than 50% of the state’s labor force growth,” added DEED Assistant Commissioner for Immigrant and Refugee Affairs Abdiwahab Mohamed. “Welcoming more immigrants and refugees — and doing more to bring our New American neighbors who are already in Minnesota into our labor force — will help ease our severe labor force shortage.” 

DEED reported that previous research has shown that foreign-born residents participate in the labor force at a rate 3.8% higher than U.S.-born residents. Analysis and calculations carried out by Schaffhauser show that bringing immigration back up to 2015 levels now through 2030 would erase over 25% of the ongoing labor force shortage projected over the next eight years. 

Courtesy of DEED