Report: Immigrant Workers Answer to Ohio, US Labor Shortages

As the country reels with the highest levels of inflation seen since the 1980s, experts say without adding more workers, wage increases could drive prices – and inflation – even higher in Ohio and across the U.S.

While many future jobs will be taken by youths aging into the workforce, research suggests many positions will still go unfilled unless the Buckeye State, and the U.S. as a whole, gains more workers by 2030.

Andrew Lim is the director of research for the nonprofit American Immigration Council. Through analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics and other data, his organization found immigration policy in Canada and other countries may be the golden ticket.

“The government, in coordination with the provinces in Canada, say, ‘What are the jobs that are most in demand? Where do you need these workers?'” said Lim. “And we don’t have that in the U.S. We have an immigration system that largely has not been reformed for now three decades. And so it’s really not as responsive as other countries have been able to become.”

Of the more than 165 million jobs expected to exist in 2030, almost half will be left open by retirees, career changers, or workers who’ve left the labor market entirely, according to American Immigration Council findings.

Lim said Ohio mirrors much of what’s going on nationally, with the added problem that some of the state’s major cities have been shrinking since as far back as the 1970s.

Lim added that while COVID restrictions may be mostly a thing of the past, the pandemic’s effects on the economy and worker shortage will remain into the future.

“You have this great resignation where people are really looking for better conditions, but also better wages,” said Lim. “And this is putting a lot of pressure on employers because now the competition for workers is really, really tight. And there are limits to what employers are able to do without passing those elevated costs up to consumers.”

By Chance Dorland, Ohio News Connection
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