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Immigrants can help with population and labor challenges in Michigan, report finds • Michigan Advance

U.S. immigrants play a significant role in the development of Michigan’s economy, a new report by the American Immigration Council found. 

The report, published Wednesday, found immigrants make up nearly 7% of Michigan’s population, a share that only appears to be growing. The immigrant population grew by 14.5% from 2012-2022, while the total population only increased by 1.5%

Michigan Global Talent Coalition partnered with the American Immigration Council to prepare the report, “Contributions of New Americans in Michigan.” 

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According to the report, immigrants can help address economic challenges, like a labor shortage, throughout the state. 

“It’s absolutely imperative for policy leaders to invest in what has proven to be our strongest asset in fighting population loss and economic stagnation — our immigrant workforce,” Jeremy Robbins, the executive director of the American Immigration Council, said in a release. 

In terms of putting money into Michigan’s economy, immigrants made up nearly 9% of the state’s spending power in 2022, totaling a collective $23.1 billion. 

The new Michiganders also can help with gaps in the labor force, according to the report. Immigrants make up 8.4% of the employed labor force, which exceeds their share of the population. The report estimates that immigrants are 24% more likely to be of “working age” than their U.S.-born counterparts, indicating the population influx can help address shortages in labor across industries. 

For example, over 18% of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) workers in Michigan are immigrants, as of 2022. The report identified Michigan’s STEM field as an industry lacking available workers.

Other jobs in need of workers include registered nurses, retail salespeople, supervisors and sales representatives. Because many of these positions interact with the public, the report identifies immigrants can help fill in gaps for “culturally competent” and bilingual workers across areas with a workforce shortage. 

Finally, on the economic side, immigrants in Michigan are over 35% more likely to become entrepreneurs than U.S.-born citizens, which can help generate more jobs and revenue for the state.

Anna Harden

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