Money & The Economy

Chamber Of Commerce Chief Suggests Doubling Legal Immigration To Fill 11 Million Vacant Jobs

The chief executive of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce said at a conference Tuesday that to address the record high job vacancies, the U.S. should seek to double the nation’s number of legal immigrants.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s president and chief executive, Suzanne P. Clark, said Tuesday at the group’s State of American Business conference that the U.S. needs to grow jobs to address the current work shortage by adding to its legal immigrant workforce rather than transferring citizens between sectors and industries.

“We can’t simply move people from one industry to another, or from one skill-level to the next,” Clark said. “We have to grow our workforce if we want to grow our economy and stay competitive.”

“We must double the number of people legally immigrating to the U.S. And we must create a permanent solution for the ‘dreamers’—those young men and women who know no other home and who contribute to their communities, but whose legal status is in limbo,” Clark said.

Meanwhile, Clark called for increased support for the artificial intelligence and related technologies industry to drive competition in the labor market and improve the labor shortage crisis.

“And what role will technology play in shaping the future of work in this era? Whether it was Henry Ford and the assembly line or the adoption of computers and the internet, innovation has always played a critical role in improving efficiency and helping our economy grow,” Clark said.

“Pandemic-era disruptions have accelerated the pace at which technologies like automation and artificial intelligence can be applied to work,” Clark added. “Through the leadership of the U.S. Chamber’s soon-to-be-announced AI Commission and our broad based tech advocacy, we will make sure government policy is supporting innovation—not holding it back.”

A record 4.5 million Americans quit their jobs in November 2021, while job openings decreased to 10.6 million in November from October’s 11.1 million figure. While December’s job openings number dipped, it is still higher than any other month since the beginning of the pandemic, The New York Times reported.

The U.S. economy added only 199,000 jobs in December, marking one of the weakest figures since President Joe Biden took office and well below economists’ estimate of around 420,000. However, the unemployment rate dipped to 3.9% in December from November’s 4.2% figure.

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