Labour squeeze: Is immigration the answer to widespread worker shortages?

John Letzing
Date of Publication: 
October, 2022
Source Organization: 

Several years after a financially strapped New York City was denied federal assistance in 1975, it commenced a period of economic revival mostly remembered in terms of zealous, broken-windows policing and a deep cleanse of Times Square.

But the real key ingredient? Immigrants.

An influx of newcomers led to a population turnover in the 1990s that was nearly double the average in the country’s other big cities. That shored up New York’s headcount and fueled a remarkable rebound. By the end of the decade, nearly half of the adults living there were foreign-born, and the city was running a significant budget surplus.

As countries now seek to avoid the worst of a predicted global economic slowdown, many are smacking head-first into a shared obstacle: too few workers. Some are turning the dials on immigration restrictions in response and embracing more foreign-born labour in an echo of 1990s-era New York. But in other places, that isn't a readily available option.

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Letzing, J. (2022, October). Labour squeeze: Is immigration the answer to widespread worker shortages? World Economic Forum.