According to an analysis conducted by the pro-immigration New American Economy think tank, major industries are facing drastic worker shortfalls. The industries currently facing the worst labor shortages include construction; transportation and warehousing; accommodation and hospitality; and personal services businesses like salons, dry cleaners, repair services, and undertakers. All four industries had increases in job postings of more than 65 percent when comparing the months of May to July 2019 to the same time period in 2021, and immigrants make up at least 20 percent of the workforce in those industries.
The US needs roughly 10 million people, including low-wage and high-skilled workers, to fill job openings nationwide — and only 8.4 million Americans are actively seeking work. And despite job openings hitting historic highs in July and extended unemployment benefits ending in September, Americans aren’t returning to work, especially in low-wage industries. At the same time, workers are resigning in record numbers. And though consumer spending has surged this year, businesses don’t have the people to meet demand — to cope, some companies are raising their prices. Supply chain bottlenecks are even threatening to ruin Christmas.
The US has shut the borders down during the pandemic, practically bringing legal immigration to a halt and closing the southern border to migrants and asylum seekers. In a normal year, the US welcomes roughly 1 million immigrants, and roughly three-quarters of them end up participating in the labor force. In 2020, that number dropped to about 263,000. Generally, economic research has shown that the arrival of low-wage foreign workers has little to no negative impact on native-born workers’ wages or employment. And under the current circumstances, welcome. Immigrants typically account for nearly a quarter of construction workers.