One of the main headlines in the United States at the beginning of 2022 is what has been dubbed the Great Resignation: people of all ages and occupations quitting their jobs due to the Covid-19 pandemic, resulting in labour shortages.
The causes of the shortages are varied, ranging from infection fears to child care demands to worker fatigue, but one issue that may be ignored is that fewer new Americans are entering the nation. Immigration has declined substantially in recent years, and the effects on the labour pool have been significant. The effects can be seen by looking at the most fundamental metric, net international migration into the United States.
As per the statistics, last year's figure was one-quarter of what it was in 2016.
The most recent population estimate was 2,47,000 people. More than a million people have died in the previous five years. The data is collected midyear to midyear; therefore, the values above cover the period from July 1 to June 30 of the following year.
As data collecting occurred during the pandemic, when reaching poll respondents was challenging, there may be some doubts about the 2021 figure. The major unaddressed question surrounding the 2020 decennial census is the challenge of data collecting.
However, the tendency of decreasing immigration numbers began well before the pandemic. Since 2016, net international migration has been decreasing year after year. Therefore, while the pandemic almost likely played a role in the last several years, policy reforms appear to have had an influence as well.
All the drops in immigration since 2016 imply that if immigration had continued at its current rate, there would be millions more immigrants in the country now. The main takeaway from the 2020 census was that population growth has slowed. The past decade saw one of the weakest rates of growth in US history.
The decline in birth rate, accompanied by slower immigration was one of the major contributors to a decline in immigration. When you combine this with long-term workers choosing out of the labour force, you have the makings of an economic problem.
When you combine this with long-term workers choosing out of the labour force, you have the makings of an economic problem.
From the type of open positions that foreign-born workers tend to occupy, you can determine which industries have been struck by the pandemic. For example, immigrants are more likely than native-born citizens to work in service jobs.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 21 per cent of foreign-born people work in the service industry, compared to 14 per cent of native-born people.
Food preparation and service, as well as building and grounds care, are instances of jobs where the inequalities between the two population groups are noticeable. Natural resource extraction and construction likewise have a high proportion of foreign-born personnel. Foreign-born workers make up 14% of the workforce, while native-born workers make up 8%.
Although, this does not imply that foreign-born workers lead certain fields; however, removing enough immigrants from the labour pool increases the likelihood of deficits in those sectors. That implies businesses will have to hunt harder for qualified candidates.
Another factor to consider as the number of immigrants decreases is pay. To begin, worker shortages tend to result in greater pay for employees, which is simply supplied and demand at work. However, foreign-born workers earn less than their native-born colleagues.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, median weekly earnings for foreign-born workers were around $885 in 2020, compared to $1,000 for native-born workers. There could be various explanations for this. Foreign-born workers have lower levels of education than native-born workers, and the positions they receive (particularly in the service professions) pay less.
Furthermore, regardless of the reasons or whether the salary disparities are equitable, the reality is that foreign-born workers earn less. When a sufficient number of individuals are removed from the labour force, earnings are likely to rise. There are many factors influencing growing inflation, and this is just one of them. And that is the broader point in all of this data and the fall in immigration.
The pandemic has wreaked havoc on the US economy in a variety of ways. Many workers are re-examining their life paths and attempting to establish new ones. Supply chain problems have caused turmoil. The decline in immigration and the labour it brings has played an impact on the economy.