Immigration: A Potential Fix for Labor Shortages?

16 Oct 2023


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It has been a continuous refrain since the pandemic upended many understandings about how the American economy is supposed to work: Across widely varying fields of work, there just aren’t enough people to fill all the available jobs.

The reality, though, is that while the pandemic may have exacerbated the problem and called a lot of new attention to it, this was an issue that was brewing well before the coronavirus began stirring up trouble. That means the solutions go beyond getting a handle on COVID-19, and it has had some observers wondering if the workers America needs can be found elsewhere in the world. Could changes in immigration policy help fill in the labor gaps?

“Without a doubt, this is the most acute workforce shortage I have seen in 15 or 20 years,” observes Larry Gigerich, executive managing director of Ginovus, a location and site selection consulting firm based in the Indianapolis suburb of Fishers. “It has been magnified by the fact that from before COVID to today, we’ve had four million people leave the workforce. That is a huge number of people to lose. The second thing is longer-term, a 15-year trend line of the birthrate dropping so much.”

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