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Immigrant Workers

2/6/2018 3:00:00 PM

While Minnesota has fewer immigrants proportionally than many other parts of the country, foreign-born residents are an increasingly important part of the state economy.

Since 2010, more than half of the state’s labor force growth has come from foreign-born workers, according to the cover story by Steve Hine and Cameron Macht in this issue of Trends magazine. Immigrants now account for 10 percent of the total available labor force in Minnesota, up from 7.5 percent just one decade earlier. In just 10 years, foreign workers in the state jumped from 206,400 to nearly 303,000.

The story says immigrants are critical to Minnesota’s economic success, providing a stream of fresh workers at a time when baby boomers are exiting the labor force in large numbers.

While educational and language barriers prevent many immigrants from filling certain jobs, they are already contributing in significant numbers to such occupations as health care support, protective service, food preparation, personal care, and building and grounds maintenance. Manufacturing, administrative support and waste management services are among the industries where foreign-born workers are often found.

Immigrants have proven to be steady and reliable contributors to the Minnesota economy. With the labor market expected to tighten even more in coming years, it will be critically important to help these new Americans find a place in our society and to succeed in the workplace. Our future depends on it.

To learn more, read “Immigrants and the Economy” in this issue of Trends.

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