May 3 marked the launch of the New Americans Task Force and the release of research from the American Immigration Council showing the impact of new Americans in Utah. I had the honor of joining fellow convenors – the Governor’s Office of Economic Opportunity, Salt Lake Chamber, and World Trade Center Utah – in a discussion of this important issue.
The vision of EDCUtah is a quality job for every aspiring Utahn. That word “aspiring” for us has multiple meanings. One, it means a quality job for Utahns who aspire to something more than they currently have – those who are willing to put in the work to better themselves and find new opportunity. And two, it means a quality job for those who aspire to become Utahns – those who are not yet part of our community but who wish to become part of it.
We work towards achieving our vision in three ways: by providing research on Utah’s competitive economic advantages, marketing those advantages to organizations interested in creating jobs in the state of Utah, and managing corporate recruitment projects that are evaluating different markets to put down roots. The research report from the American Immigration Council and the task force itself align with and add value to every facet of our organization’s program.
The convening of the New Americans Taskforce is the start of a state-wide effort to develop a comprehensive strategy that maximizes the economic opportunities, social inclusion, and civic potential for new Americans, and builds an environment of belonging in Utah.
I’d like to thank our friends at the Council for their great work on the research report. This brief, prepared in partnership with EDCUtah, uses American Community Survey data to show the demographic and economic contributions that immigrants are making across the Beehive State. The report highlights the key role that new Americans play in Utah, and it quantifies the impacts new Americans have as taxpayers, consumers, entrepreneurs, workforce talent, students, and more.
New Americans are a factor in Utah’s increasing diversity. Between 2000 and 2019, the number of immigrants in Utah grew by 63.7 percent, and immigrants were responsible for 11.6 percent of the state’s population growth during the same period.
New Americans are punching above their weight in fast-growing industries. New Americans in 2019 represented 8.4 percent of Utah’s population, but 10.1 percent of STEM workers, and 12.8 percent of physicians, helping to fill critical shortages in key industries.
It is particularly exciting for us to see the impact new Americans have on our manufacturing economy. As mentioned above, while making up 8.4% of the state's population, new Americans represented 18.7% of our manufacturing workforce. Given the dramatic increases of manufacturing projects in our EDCUtah business development pipeline, an available and talented workforce speaks well to our future economic growth.
New Americans contribute as taxpayers and consumers. In 2019, new Americans paid $1.1 billion in federal taxes and $572.7 million in state and local taxes and held $5.4 billion in spending power, which supports the local economy.
You can read the full report here.
Before the release of this report, we all knew intuitively that as part of our state’s multicultural communities, new Americans contribute greatly to Utah’s economic success. The research validates those impressions, and it also helps us to identify areas of opportunity and improvement.
New American talent in Utah truly is a win-win – expanded economic opportunity for individuals and families and a larger talent pool for employers in a tight labor market. Our communities, businesses, and civic leaders in Utah want to build a culture of welcoming and belonging where all individuals and employees can succeed.
The businesses we court and those already in Utah want to see tangible proof of our state’s inclusive, open approach. We don’t have to be perfect, but we do have to be moving forward.
We invite Utahns to sign up for one of four working groups on the task force:
This report and the action items that will come out of the task force working groups are terrific steps in the right direction.
Submit the Google form to participate in a working group. For more information or to ask a question, contact Natalie El-Deiry at firstname.lastname@example.org or Ze Min Xiao at email@example.com.