The immigrant workforce supports millions of US jobs

Dany Bahar, Carlos Daboin Contreras and Greg Wright
Date of Publication: 
October, 2022
Source Organization: 
Brookings Institution

Dozens of empirical studies have found that immigration benefits American workers. Even immigrant workers with little formal education have, with some exceptions, been found to have negligible effects on the wages of similarly educated workers.

As part of Brookings Workforce of the Future initiative’s ongoing efforts to identify immigration policies that benefit American workers, we present a new perspective on the role that immigrants play in the U.S. economy. Using the “complementarity index,” we show that immigrant workers are broadly complementary to natives, both because immigrants work in occupations that serve an unusually wide range of industries, and also because immigrant-intensive occupations often complement other jobs. Acknowledging this complementarity is essential given that current trends in occupation growth imply that the immigrant workforce will become increasingly central to the U.S. economy in the coming years.

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Bahar, D., Daboin, C. & Wright, G. (2022, October). The immigrant workforce supports millions of US jobs. Brookings Institution.