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Immigrants are joining the NJ workforce at a higher rate than natives


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Immigrants in New Jersey are more likely to participate in the workforce than native-born workers, according to a new report from Stockton University.

The labor force participation rate among foreign-born workers was 69.9%, compared with 64.7% among native-born workers in New Jersey, according to the study by the William J. Hughes Center for Public Policy at Stockton University, in Galloway Township, near Atlantic. City.

In New Jersey, foreign workers represent 30% of the New Jersey workforce, compared to 18.1% of the national workforce, the study said.

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“Contrary to negative perceptions around immigration and its impact on the economy, current labor market trends suggest it is a boon,” said one of the study’s authors, Stockton economist Ramya Devan.

“The data shows that immigrants are critical to New Jersey’s workforce.”

What is a labor participation rate?

According to the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, labor force participation is the “percentage of the population that is working or actively looking for work.”

In April, a separate report said that every 1,000 immigrants who enter New Jersey’s labor market earn a combined $21 million in wages and pay $1.8 million in state and local taxes in their first year.

And in five years, that same group of people will likely earn a combined $33 million in wages and contribute $2.9 million in state and local taxes.

That report was jointly prepared by New Jersey Policy Perspective, a progressive think tank, and the New York City-based Immigration Research Initiative, a nonpartisan think tank.

Both studies come at a time when broader immigration is becoming a hot topic in the 2024 presidential election.

Both former President Donald Trump, a Republican, and President Joe Biden, a Democrat, visited the southern border with Mexico this winter to highlight their immigration agendas.

For example, Trump claimed that many migrants are dangerous and “come out of prisons,” despite research showing the opposite to be true.

Earlier this month, Biden signed an executive order restricting entry and preventing migrants from seeking asylum if they enter the U.S. illegally — a move that sparked intense backlash from immigrant rights groups, including several in New Jersey.

The move “effectively closes the border to thousands of immigrant families seeking asylum,” said Raquel Morsy, a member of the progressive activist group Make the Road New Jersey.

“Most Americans support a fair and legal asylum system that does not penalize vulnerable families seeking protection at our southern border,” Morsy continued.

Stockton’s study in figures

The Stockton study found that a large share of foreign-born workers were software developers, especially in Hudson, Hunterdon and Middlesex counties. Software development was the second most common occupation among immigrant workers in Bergen and Somerset counties, the study found.

In those five provinces, there were approximately 35,000 foreign-born software developers. Additionally, according to the study, there were more than 26,000 foreign-born nurses and nursing assistants throughout New Jersey.

County breakdown

Foreign-born workers made up double-digit percentages of the North Jersey workforce.

  • Bergen Province: 38.2%
  • Essex County: 35.9%
  • Morris County: 21.6%
  • Passaic County: 39.2%
  • Sussex County: 10.9%

Nurses were the most common occupation for foreign-born workers in Bergen County. In Essex County, immigrants were mostly construction workers.

In Morris County, immigrants were mostly managers, while in Passaic County they were manufacturing workers, and in Sussex County they were mostly high school teachers.

The study was based on data from the 2022 American Community Survey, compiled by the US Census Bureau.

This article contains information from USA TODAY.

Daniel Munoz covers business, consumer affairs, labor and the economy for NorthJersey.com and The Record.

E-mail: [email protected]; Twitter:@danielmunoz100 and Facebook

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