Immigration and the U.S. Labor Market: A Look Ahead

Harry J. Holzer
Date of Publication: 
August, 2019
Source Organization: 
Migration Policy Institute

In the coming decades, the U.S. labor market will experience major transformations that challenge the country’s economic growth and competitiveness. The native-born workforce will age and shrink as baby boomers retire and birth rates decline. Technological innovations, though unlikely to result in mass unemployment as some observers fear, will displace some workers, particularly in low-skilled occupations. And traditional employer-employee relationships are becoming less common as contracting, outsourcing, and other alternative staffing arrangements spread.

While these forces may bring some productivity increases, they are also likely to result in rising inequality between skilled and unskilled workers, lower economic growth, and mismatches between the skills workers have and those that are increasingly in demand. What role, this think piece by a former chief economist for the U.S. Labor Department asks, can immigration play in mitigating these undesirable economic outcomes and supporting U.S. economic growth?

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Holzer, H. (2019). Immigration and the U.S. Labor Market: A Look Ahead. Washington, DC: Migration Policy Institute. Retrieved from