It’s often said that immigrants make an economy more dynamic. New research proves it, and comes at a time when the U.S. economy has experienced a significant shortfall in immigration due to government policies. It also comes as policymakers around the world search for ways to make their economies grow faster and become more dynamic.
“Immigrants boost economic growth, employment growth and economic dynamism through their contributions to the workforce, entrepreneurial activities and purchases of goods and services,” according to Madeline Zavodny, an economics professor at the University of North Florida, in a National Foundation for American Policy study. “The analysis finds that immigrants may slow the offshoring of manufacturing activity by U.S. businesses, indicating the importance of immigration to increasing U.S. domestic manufacturing production.”
To conduct the research, Zavodny combined data from the American Community Survey with the U.S. Census Bureau’s Business Dynamics Statistics program for nearly 250 metro areas. “Metro areas with a higher share of immigrants have more dynamic economies and experience faster growth in the number of jobs created and new business establishments,” she found. “During 2010 to 2019, foreign-born workers accounted for up to one-quarter of employment growth and up to three-quarters of the growth in business establishments in the 248 metro areas examined.” (Emphasis added.)
Provo-Orem in Utah was the second-fastest growing metro area for employment growth and the fastest growing for business establishment growth between 2010 and 2019, according to the research. Derek Miller, president and CEO of the Salt Lake Chamber, said, “Utah is a place where the American Dream is still alive, and that the state should strive to be a place where people can come to achieve the American Dream.” Miller helped lead the effort for the Utah Compact, formed in 2020, and made up of “state leaders, private leaders, religious groups and law enforcement,” who “outlined a set of immigration principles” to help promote a more positive tone over immigration policy.