Report on New Americans in Salt Lake County Highlights Economic Contributions of Immigrants


Sarah Doolin, New American Economy,

Salt Lake Region Launches Task Force to Highlight, Enhance Economic Contributions of Immigrants; New Report Shows Foreign-Born Households Brought Billions to Metro Area GDP in 2014

Salt Lake County, UT – Today, Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams, Salt Lake Chamber President and CEO Lane Beattie, and businessman Dr. Dinesh Patel will launch the Welcoming Salt Lake New Americans Task Force at the Salt Lake Chamber, a community initiative highlighting the boost to Utah’s economy from immigrant businesses and innovation.

The event, sponsored by  New American Economy (NAE) and Welcoming America, also marks the release of a PNAE research brief  that examines the economic and demographic contributions of immigrants in Salt Lake County. It shows that immigrants positively impact the county’s economy through their entrepreneurship, workforce participation, tax contributions, and spending power.

“Salt Lake County provides yet another example of a great American community that benefits from the talent that immigrants bring,” said John Feinblatt, Chairman of New American Economy. “This research shows how immigrants work in Salt Lake’s key industries like manufacturing, construction, and services, strengthen the local tax base, and start businesses that create additional jobs in the county and across Utah.”

“Diversity contributes enormously to the thriving metropolitan region we’ve become. The demographics of our innovation economy are closely linked to our immigration demographics. For example, more than one third of U.S. innovators were born outside the U.S., even though this population makes up just 13 percent of all U.S. residents,” said Ben McAdams, Mayor, Salt Lake County.

“Immigrants have always been an important part of our strength as a state. As our economy continues to grow, it is absolutely critical that Utah businesses can hire both high skilled and hourly employees to meet future workforce needs. Utah should always be a place that welcomes people of goodwill and we want to make sure we are attracting the best and brightest to help our economy grow,” said Lane Beattie, President and CEO, Salt Lake Chamber.

“Salt Lake County is a leader among a growing movement of communities that are benefiting economically by creating a welcoming environment in which all residents can thrive and feel like they belong,” said Welcoming America Executive Director and Founder David Lubell.

The report, “New Americans in Salt Lake County,” finds that in 2014:

  • Immigrants in Salt Lake County contributed $8 billion to the metro area’s GDP.
  • Foreign-born households held $2.3 billion in spending power and paid $236 million in state and local taxes.
  • Immigrants in Salt Lake County make up a significant share of the labor force in several of the county’s key industries, representing 29.2 percent of manufacturing workers, 29 percent of construction workers, and 27.7 percent of service workers.
  • Salt Lake County is home to 6,783 immigrant-owned businesses, which generate $145 million in annual income.
  • Between 2000 and 2014, immigration to Salt Lake increased total housing value in the county by over $2 billion.
  • The 2,652 international students enrolled in the county’s colleges and universities supported 1,578 jobs and contributed $115.2 million in spending to the local economy.

This report is released in conjunction with the announcement that Salt Lake County is one of twenty communities selected in the Gateways for Growth Challenge, an opportunity from NAE and Welcoming America that invited communities across the United States to apply for support for the development and implementation of multi-sector strategic plans for welcoming and integrating new Americans.

Read the full report here and check out other briefs in the “New Americans” series, which highlight immigrant contributions in Denver, Cincinnati, Columbus, and Toledo.

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…