An analysis in The News on Wednesday pointed out that a shortage of people looking for work threatens to put a crimp on the Western New York economy’s ability to rebound from the Covid-19 pandemic.
When the “help wanted” signs outnumber the ones that say “we’re open,” then Buffalo, we’ve got a problem.
Two policy imperatives can bring new people into the labor force: more legal immigration and more job training.
U.S. policies under President Donald Trump caused significant drops in legal immigration, a fact that was felt sharply in manufacturing. Factories and shops that make things are mainstays of Buffalo Niagara’s economy.
The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine’s 2016 report, “The Economic and Fiscal Consequences of Immigration,” stated that importing and retaining talent from abroad were keys to closing the talent gap and bringing high skills into the workforce, which in turn contributes to innovation.
Buffalo Niagara has earned its reputation as welcoming to immigrants. For example, more than 80 languages are spoken in families of students who attend Buffalo Public Schools. The National Academies report pointed out that the cost of educating the children of first-generation immigrants can be taxing on local budgets, but it is ultimately a smart investment.