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Experts: Look to immigrants to ease worker shortages – Times Union – Impact investing

Experts: Look to immigrants to ease worker shortages – Times Union

Written by Amanda

Experts: Look to immigrants to ease worker shortages  Times Union

In my many conversations surrounding workforce shortages, I frequently remind my constituents that it is not a simple, but more multilayered problem.  There is the great resignation (rethinking jobs), the silver tsunami (aging workforce), the child care crisis (parents without options) and decreased immigration (hostile immigration policies). Each has a cause and effect on workforce shortages.  

Financial analyst Hugh Johnson cited the lack of labor as a barrier to economic growth.  “The rate of population growth in the U.S. has slowed to its lowest level in decades,” he said. “While job growth in September was strong, the growth rate of employment has slowed.” 

 The gap between job openings and available workers postwar is one of the key reasons that inflation is soaring in the U.S., according to Goldman Sachs researchers. A drop in immigration has helped push the gap wider, suggesting an increase in foreign-born workers could help contain the rise in wages and prices. 

One of the major factors to the decrease is the barriers for immigrants to legally enter the U.S. This topic is dear to my heart because I am a first-generation Italian American. My parents were both from Italy, who came here in an era where employing immigrants was welcomed. They worked hard to build a life here and their efforts resulted in a solid, comfortable middle-class life in the suburbs. They didn’t have to pay thousands of dollars of legal fees nor wait a minimum of five years to acquire a visa to work. My dad was a carpenter and the need for skilled labor was great. My mom didn’t have a specific skill and she worked in factories desperate for line workers. The construction and manufacturing sectors postwar grew with the help of immigrants. Mining, agriculture, hospitality and human services postwar greatly benefited from incoming immigrant workers.  

What changed? What was happening in the late 1940s and ’50s sure sounds a lot like what’s happening right now. Could an increase in immigration be one solution to our labor shortages?

How can we begin to solve the problem among the rhetoric demonizing the migrant population? 

Immigrants sometimes are blamed for domestic terrorism, but national research finds that the two most lethal elements of today’s domestic terrorism threat are racially or ethnically motivated violent extremists who advocate for the superiority of the white race and anti-government extremists, such as so-called militia members.

A University of Maryland poll found that a majority of white Americans believe there is a lot more discrimination against white people despite their largely holding the political, economic and social levers of power. That just doesn’t line up. And more than half say they don’t see a rise in discrimination against Black and Latino Americans.  

As an HR professional who has led discrimination investigations, these beliefs revealed by the poll don’t hold water. Intolerance and the targeting of Black and Asian individuals, as well as other people of color, still exists. Religious freedoms are under attack.  Many migrants can provide the skilled labor we desperately need, as in years past.

The ones I talk to want jobs, not welfare. We need numbers to fill all the open jobs our kids don’t want. But it can be difficult to convince many Americans that we are stronger together.

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell recently said the drop in foreign-born workers coming to the U.S. has rippled through the employment market. Immigration slowed in the U.S. between 2019 and 2021 due to the prior White House administration’s policies.

That resulted in a drop of 1.6 million workers.

The pace of immigration has improved slightly with temporary visas and green card issuance. But the current population of foreign-born workers is smaller than it would be prior to the policy changes. 

We need to find ways to counter the type of rhetoric often fueled by disinformation, misinformation and dangerous conspiracy theories. We should instead support information that fosters healthy democratic discussions. If we could all remember our roots, it may be easier to support pro-immigration policies. Experts like Hugh Johnson and Goldman Sachs get it. They predict the workforce numbers are short of what they say will be required for economic growth. Pro-immigration policies may help solve the workforce shortage puzzle. It appears to be an economic necessity to boost annual immigration to put a dent in the workforce shortfall. 

Rose Miller is President, Suite Advice, LLC


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Hi there, I am Amanda and I work as an editor at;  if you are interested in my services, please reach me at

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