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The Immigrant Workforce

The chief economist at the job site Indeed, Jed Kolko, utilized Census Bureau data to dissect the educational, occupational, and geographical background of immigrants in the U.S. As reported in the Wall Street Journal, Kolko’s analysis indicates that Americans most recent arrivals – those who came to the U.S. over the past five years – have been gravitating to jobs as medical researchers, software developers, physicists and economists.

By contrast, earlier immigrants were more likely to be working at beauty salons, on construction sites or operating sewing machines. Recent immigrants are also far more likely to have a bachelor’s degree. One implication is that the employers who will oppose proposed restrictions on new immigrants will increasingly come from high-tech industries.

Moreover, workers who have felt most threatened by the arrival of newcomers to America in the past may become less so. Census Bureau data indicate that immigration from China and India is now outpacing arrivals from Mexico in most regions of the country. Among immigrants 25 years and older who came to the U.S. during the last five years, 45 percent were from Asia, one-third from Latin America.    

Anirban Basu, Chariman Chief Executive Officer of Sage Policy Group (SPG), is one of the Mid-Atlantic region's leading economic consultants. Prior to founding SPG he was Chairman and CEO of Optimal Solutions Group, a company he co-founded and which continues to operate. Anirban has also served as Director of Applied Economics and Senior Economist for RESI, where he used his extensive knowledge of the Mid-Atlantic region to support numerous clients in their strategic decision-making processes. Clients have included the Maryland Department of Transportation, St. Paul Companies, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra Players Committee and the Martin O'Malley mayoral campaign.