Press Release: New Report Shows Looming Gap in Less-Skilled Labor Force is a Threat to U.S. Economic Growth

Washington, DC — Strong demand for less-skilled workers is being undermined by a declining number of young people willing and able to work less-skilled jobs, according to a new report released today by The Partnership for a New American Economy. The report, which was released during a Capitol Hill briefing sponsored by the Partnership and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, reveals that although current immigration rates are helping to offset this growing labor gap, the U.S. does not have the workforce necessary to address the looming labor deficit.

“Lower-skilled workers remain a critical piece of the U.S. economy, but changes in the American workforce have created an increasingly dire labor gap that is putting our economy at risk,” said John Feinblatt, Chairman of the Partnership for a New American Economy. “We need to pass immigration reform now and ensure that American employers have access to the workforce they need to grow and prosper.”

“The time has come for Congress to act,” said Randy Johnson, senior vice president of Labor, Immigration, and Employee Benefits for the U.S. Chamber.  “Demographics and immigration are linked, because immigration reform can be part of the solution to address changes created by our nation’s demographics – immigration reform would create a means to bring in more workers to carry the load created by demographic realities.”

The report is being released in conjunction with a Partnership for a New American Economy and U.S. Chamber of Commerce sponsored Capitol Hill briefing featuring the following panelists:

  • Dr. Frank D. Bean – Director, Center for Research on Immigration, Population, and Public Policy, University of California, Irvine
  • Dr. Audrey Singer – Senior Fellow, Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program
  • Dr. Dowell Myers – Professor at the Sol Price School of Public Policy at the University of Southern California

Key Findings

  • America has a declining number of young people willing and able to work less-skilled jobs. Between 1990 and 2010 the number of less-skilled, young, U.S.-born Americans (aged 25-44) declined by almost 12.3 million.
  • The decline in the less-skilled, young population has been particularly pronounced among women. Almost two thirds of the decline in the number of young, less-skilled, U.S.-born individuals can be explained by a decrease in the number of less-skilled women in America.
  • The demand for less-skilled workers is strong and growing. According to the U.S. Census, between 1990 and 2010, the number of jobs for less-skilled workers in the U.S. economy remained constant at 45.7 million. And in the coming years, less-skilled employment is expected to grow: The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that 63 percent of the new jobs created between 2008 and 2018 will require a high school degree or less. 
  • Second generation immigrants have helped offset some of these labor gaps.  Between 1995 and 2010, while the number of less-skilled, young, American-born individuals overall declined, the number of second-generation immigrants in that category grew by more than 680,000.
  • We do not admit a sufficient number of immigrants to offset the looming workforce deficit of less-skilled workers.  Between 1990 and 2010, when the number of young, U.S.-born, less-skilled individuals declined by almost 12.3 million, only 3.9 million young immigrants arrived in the country to replace them.

This report was prepared for the Partnership for a New American Economy by Frank D. Bean, Ph.D. and, Susan K. Brown, Ph.D., University of California, Irvine; and James D. Bachmeier, Ph.D., Temple University.

Attend the Capitol Hill briefing:

WHEN: Thursday, March 27, 2014 at 10:00am

WHERE: 2226 Rayburn House Office Building

See the full report, “Demographic Change and Why Immigrants are need to Fill America’s Less-Skilled Labor Gap.”

This event and report are part of the #iBuildImmigration campaign that brings business leaders across America together with the Partnership for a New American Economy to tell Washington that we need immigration reform now.

About the Partnership for a New American Economy

The Partnership for a New American Economy brings together more than 500 Republican, Democratic and Independent mayors and business leaders who support immigration reforms that will help create jobs for Americans today. The Partnership’s members include mayors of more than 35 million people nationwide and business leaders of companies that generate more than $1.5 trillion and employ more than 4 million people across all sectors of the economy, from Agriculture to Aerospace, Hospitality to High Tech and Media to Manufacturing. Partnership members understand that immigration is essential to maintaining the productive, diverse and flexible workforce that America needs to ensure prosperity over the coming generations. Learn more at www.RenewOurEconomy.org.

About the U.S. Chamber of Commerce

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world’s largest business federation representing the interests of more than 3 million businesses of all sizes, sectors, and regions, as well as state and local chambers and industry associations. Learn more at www.uschamber.com.

CONTACT
Ryan Williams, Partnership for a New American Economy, rwilliams@fp1strategies.com
Blair Latoff Holmes, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, bholmes@uschamber.com

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…