COUNCIL BLUFFS, IOWA, Jan. 20, 2022 – New research, New Americans in Omaha-Council Bluffs and New Americans in Southwest Iowa, released today by New American Economy — now the American Immigration Council — in partnership with the Council Bluffs Area Chamber of Commerce, shows that immigrants contributed $5.1 billion to the GDP of the Omaha-Council Bluffs metropolitan area in 2019.
In addition to their financial contributions in Omaha-Council Bluffs, which included paying over $301 million in federal taxes and $182 million in state and local taxes in 2019, the reports highlight how immigrants fill crucial workforce gaps. Although foreign-born residents made up 8% of the Omaha-Council Bluffs’ overall population in 2019, they represented 10.6% of its working-age population. Additionally, immigrants had an outside impact on key industries vital to the economic stability of the Omaha-Council Bluffs region. In 2019, immigrants accounted for 22.1% of manufacturing workers, 15.9% of construction workers, and 12.2% of hospitality workers.
The Council Bluffs Area Chamber of Commerce is a member of the Global Talent Chamber Network, a network that brings together chambers of commerce from across the country who see immigrant integration as an economic growth strategy. The Council Bluffs Area Chamber of Commerce will present the reports at a special event on January 20, where community members will offer commentary on the findings of the reports. Following the launch, the Council Bluffs Area Chamber of Commerce plans to widely disseminate the reports to municipal leaders, civic organizations, and business groups in the region.
“With talent attraction and retention being the top issue of our members, the Council Bluffs Area Chamber of Commerce is always working to identify innovative and impactful ways to positively impact talent in our region. By partnering with the New American Economy on these immigration impact reports we are doing just that,” said Drew Kamp, president & CEO of the Council Bluffs Area Chamber of Commerce. “Not only will these reports inform our decision making process within our workforce development program, they will also be used to inform our public policy and advocacy positions, as well as our ongoing and growing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion efforts. We thank the New American Economy for their partnership on this venture and look forward to continuing to work with them in the future.”
“This report captures the crucial role that immigrants play in driving economic growth in Omaha-Council Bluffs and the Southwest Iowa region,” said Mo Kantner, director of state and local initiatives at the American Immigration Council. “By attracting and welcoming foreign-born residents with a unique range of skills, the region can make an important investment in the community’s future.”
- Immigrants are bringing much-needed talent. In 2019, 27.4% of immigrants in Omaha-Council Bluffs aged 25 and older held at least a bachelor’s degree and 11.3% held an advanced degree (either a master’s professional or doctoral degree).
- Immigrants are filling critical workforce gaps. Although foreign-born residents made up 2.9% of Southwest Iowa’s overall population, they represented 3.9% of its employed labor force in 2019.
- Immigrants play a significant role in the area’s entrepreneurs. Despite making up 8% of the overall population in Omaha-Council Bluffs, immigrants represented 9.1% of the entrepreneurs in 2019 and generated $79.9 million in business income.
- Immigrants help create or preserve local manufacturing jobs. In Omaha-Council Bluffs, immigrants strengthened the local job market by allowing companies to keep jobs on U.S. soil, helping preserve or create 3,400 local manufacturing jobs that would have otherwise vanished or moved elsewhere by 2019.
Click here to read each full report, New Americans in Omaha-Council Bluffs and New Americans in Southwest Iowa.