Important Research released on Immigrants: Reviving the Great Lakes Region
By Steve Tobocman, Global Detroit
The Welcoming Economies Global Network was honored to serve as the launch pad for critically important research released by the New American Economy and the Great Lakes Metro Chambers Coalition at our October 24th Convening in Syracuse. The research focuses squarely on the Great Lakes region’s working-class and the positive impacts that immigrants have had on these workers.
A number of pundits have suggested that working-class Rust Belt voters swung the 2016 election. And the research affirms working-class frustrations and fears about the economy. According to the report, the Great Lakes region (roughly defined by upstate NY, PA, OH, MI, IN, IL, and WI, but more precisely defined by the metro and rural areas that touch those states) lost 1 million working-class jobs between 2000-2015 and saw real wages for working-class workers fall 6.4% over this period.
But then the report focuses on how growing immigrant populations in the same region actually are an important part of the solution to working-class ills, rather than a cause. The Great Lakes region faces some significant demographic challenges that threaten its economic viability, including sluggish population growth, population loss in rural areas, a rapidly aging workforce, and a brain drain of young college-educated residents who represent a critical component to long-term economic, job, and wage growth.