Despite making up 34.5% of Middlesex County’s population, immigrants accounted for 64.4% of the county’s science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) workers and 49% of business owners in 2018, according to new research from New American Economy (NAE).
The report, which was published in partnership with the Middlesex County Regional Chamber of Commerce and Einstein’s Alley, highlights the economic impact that immigrants in Middlesex County have on their community, such as contributing $2.7 billion to federal taxes and $1.4 billion to state and local taxes in 2018. Immigrants also supported critical social programs, including paying $1.3 billion into Social Security and $353.2 million to Medicare. Immigrants held $9.4 billion in spending power, 42.8 percent of all spending power in the county, providing an economic boost to Middlesex County as consumers.
The report also highlights how immigrants fill crucial workforce gaps in industries vital to the economic stability of the county. While representing 34.5% of the total population (the national average is 13%), immigrants represented an outsize share of workers in industries such as professional services (54%), wholesale trade (51.9%), transportation (50.5%) and manufacturing (49.8%). Immigrants also helped strengthen the local job market by helping to preserve or create 13,164 manufacturing jobs that would have either disappeared or moved elsewhere by 2018.
The new report was discussed at the Middlesex County Regional Chamber of Commerce’s Economic Outlook 2020 event at Rutgers Visitors Center on Thursday, January 30th. The launch of this new report coincides with the recent formation of the New Jersey Business Immigration Coalition spearheaded by Einstein’s Alley, which brings together New Jersey business, higher education, and economic development leaders who are dedicated to promoting sensible immigration reform that supports economic growth.
The report, which uses data from the 2018 American Community Survey and covers Middlesex County, was awarded to the Middlesex County Regional Chamber and Einstein’s Alley as part of New American Economy’s Gateways for Growth Challenge. Gateways for Growth, the Middlesex County Regional Chamber of Commerce, and Einstein’s Alley are bringing together leaders across sectors to ensure that Middlesex County welcomes and harnesses the potential of all residents.
“As we prepare for the next Census, we have already seen a sizable shift in the demographics of Middlesex County, greatly changing our economy,” said Lina Llona, President of Middlesex County Regional Chamber of Commerce. “The county continues to evolve and grow in a very exciting way, as many new businesses are competing on a global scale in all areas of STEM. We warmly welcome new opportunities from our immigrant community, which is identifying new ways for Middlesex County to remain at the forefront of commerce on both a domestic and international scale. We are excited about the findings of this report, as we prepare for a vibrant future with many new local partners.”
“This report quantifies what many people in Middlesex County already know — immigrants play a key role in driving economic growth,” said Mo Kanter, Associate Director of State and Local Initiatives at New American Economy. “As this new data clearly shows, immigrant success provides tangible benefits to the Middlesex County workforce, social programs, and overall economy.”
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