New research from New American Economy shows that immigrants and refugees in the Saint Paul area make up 35.3 percent of manufacturing workers, 39.2 percent of essential service workers, and 33.2 percent of business owners. The new report, New Americans in Saint Paul and East Metro Area, MN, was prepared in partnership with the City of Saint Paul and the St. Paul Area Chamber.
Key findings include:
- Immigrants and refugees are helping Saint Paul meet its labor force demands. As of 2019, immigrants and refugees made up 19.9 percent of the area’s overall population, represented 24.2 percent of its working-age population, 22.2 percent of its employed labor force, and 17 percent of the area’s STEM workers.
- Immigrants’ spending power has helped revitalize local businesses in the city and region. In 2019, immigrants held $966.2 million in disposable income, or 14.7 percent of Saint Paul’s total spending power. Similarly, immigrants across the East Metro Area held over $3.4 billion of spending power in 2019 alone. Robust consumer spending by immigrants supports small businesses and keeps local economic corridors vibrant.
- Immigration is driving population growth in Saint Paul and the East Metro Area. Immigrants accounted for over 62 percent of the population growth in the City of Saint Paul 1 and 40 percent of the population growth in the East Metro Area between 2015 and 2019. As of 2019, 11.9 percent of the East Metro Area and over 19 percent of Saint Paul’s population were immigrants.
- Immigrants play a significant role in the city as entrepreneurs. Immigrants represented 33.2 percent of the entrepreneurs in the city of Saint Paul in 2019. Over 11 percent of immigrant individuals worked for their own businesses, generating $43.8 million in business income.
- Immigrants in Saint Paul play a key role in supporting and preserving local manufacturing jobs. As of 2019, immigrants made up over 35 percent of manufacturing workers in the city. Because of the role immigrants play in the workforce in helping companies keep jobs on U.S. soil, immigrants in the region helped create or preserve approximately 2,800 jobs that would have otherwise vanished or moved elsewhere.
The report was produced as part of NAE’s and Welcoming America’s Gateways for Growth Challenge, which includes tailored research on the local immigrant population and technical assistance in the creation of a multi-sector strategic immigrant integration plan.
Read the full press release here.