As an industrial broker for the past three decades, I have personally come to know many business owners and leaders, and have come to understand the needs of their organizations. From manufacturers to third-party logistics firms, businesses rely on access to a skilled and reliable workforce. The problem, however, is a significant shortage of just such a demographic. In fact, a survey conducted by Deloitte and the National Association of Manufacturers’ Manufacturing Institute found that despite the higher levels of unemployment, U.S. manufacturers could not fill 600,000 open positions for skilled workers; and with manufacturing contributing to 13% of the U.S. gross domestic product, this is a critical issue. In fact, unless something is done to combat the growing labor shortage, the U.S. is likely to experience a decline in U.S.-based manufacturers. Therein lays the argument for immigration reform.
Immigrants are essential to the nation’s competitiveness, particularly in the case of manufacturing. According to a report by the Partnership for a New American Economy in September 2013 entitled, “Immigration and the Revival of American Cities,” immigration not only assists in the preservation of manufacturing jobs, but it also helps to create them. The study found for every 1,000 immigrants in a county, 46 manufacturing jobs are created or preserved; and that nationally, 1.8 million manufacturing jobs have been created or preserved by over 40 million immigrants. In other words, foreign-born residents are helping to stabilize and even grow the U.S. manufacturing sector and prevent jobs from moving overseas. In fact, communities with higher rates of immigration have been able to retain more manufacturing jobs.