Talk Business and Politics: New study highlights economic benefit of central Arkansas’ immigrant population

A study published Tuesday (May 1) by the Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce, the City of Little Rock and a Washington, D.C.-business coalition reports that foreign-born residents contributed $2 billion annual in gross domestic product to the central Arkansas economy in 2016.

The study’s release coincided with federal judge’s ruling in the nation’s capital against President Donald Trump’s efforts to end the federal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy, a key goal of the Washington, D.C.-New American Economy (NAE) group that completed the study on Little Rock’s immigrant population.

The local report, “New Americans in Little Rock,” highlights the significant role the foreign-born population in the Little Rock metro area plays in labor force growth, new business creation and home ownership. The six-page NAE study also notes the role immigrants play in preserving local jobs— including an estimated 1,346 manufacturing jobs in Little Rock area.

“The Little Rock region has a diverse culture and economy. This diversity is a major selling point when marketing our region to the rest of the world,” said Jay Chesshir, president and CEO of the Little Rock Chamber. “The New American Economy report quantifies for ourselves, and others, how meaningful of an impact immigrants have on our region.”

“Little Rock is renowned for our hospitality and we will continue extending that welcome to our immigrant families. As the NAE report shows, these new Arkansans help fuel our economy and are a major catalyst for new businesses, helping create jobs. They also contribute to our culture and enhance all of our residents’ quality of life,” said Little Rock Mayor Mark Stodola.

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About NAE

New American Economy is a bipartisan research and advocacy organization fighting for smart federal, state, and local immigration policies that help grow our economy and create jobs for all Americans. More…