Immigrants Needed to Meet Anticipated U.S. Job Opening Surge: Report

The U.S. will need immigrant workers in the years to come as the country's aging workforce and increasing health care service needs contribute to an expected surge in job openings, according to a report released this week by the American Immigration Council (AIC).

The U.S. Census Bureau has identified 2030 as the country's "demographic turning point," when all Americans in the baby boomer generation—and about one in five Americans overall—will have reached retirement age. That is also the year that the Census Bureau says that "immigration is projected to overtake" natural population increases within the U.S. Only about one in five immigrant workers in the U.S. will have reached retirement age by 2030, according to the AIC's report.

An estimated 17 percent of the U.S. civilian workforce was foreign born in 2020, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. When reached for comment, the Bureau of Labor Statistics referred Newsweek to the Census Bureau's population projections.

Immigrant workers needed for job opening surge
The U.S. is expected to add an estimated 1.4 million health care service jobs by 2030, many of which the American Immigration Council says will likely be filled by immigrants. Above, a nurse practitioner fills a syringe with the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at the Beaumont Health offices in Southfield, Michigan, on November 5, 2021. JEFF KOWALSKY/AFP via Getty Images

While the American workforce is aging and the U.S. population is experiencing slower natural increases, the country has in recent weeks recorded its lowest number of unemployment claims in more than 50 years. The U.S. has simultaneously struggled with record inflation, which has driven up the cost of living.

Having fewer working-age Americans available in the years ahead to meet rising consumer demands for products and services suggests prices could rise "even higher," the AIC said in its report.

The coronavirus pandemic, the aging population and the recent push for higher wages "leaves no clear way of meeting current labor demands domestically or filling the millions of new jobs that will be created over the next decade," the report said. Many of the new jobs will be filled by young Americans joining the workforce, it added, but "demographic trends suggest that the labor market will still need immigrant workers to make up the shortfall."

The AIC's report reflected on the recent rate of job openings, which rose through 2021 and hit 7.1 percent by the end of the year. The rise indicates finding workers for new or reopened jobs will be "increasingly difficult," the AIC said.

There will likely be 2.6 million new jobs in the U.S. by 2030, the report said, an estimated 1.4 million of which will be health care support positions. In 2021, the AIC said the greatest number of job openings was reported among health care practitioners, a field in which the AIC said immigrants make up about 15.6 percent of workers despite being only about 14 percent of the country's total population. Immigrants also fill about one in three physician roles, one in five lab technician roles and more than one in five health care support roles.

Based on these health care trends and U.S. government population estimates, the AIC said immigrant workers "will play a critical role in helping meet the surging demand for care and make healthcare services more accessible to all Americans."

For the U.S. workforce in general, the aging population matched with slower population increases suggests that "more workers will need to come from abroad or these positions will go unfilled," the report concluded.