Newspaper article MinnPost.com

Immigration Has Become a 'Driving Force' in Minnesota's Economy

Newspaper article MinnPost.com

Immigration Has Become a 'Driving Force' in Minnesota's Economy

Article excerpt

The stream of the diverse immigrant communities to Minnesota has led to a rapid growth of the state's economy and population over the past 13 years, according to a new study, "Immigrant Contributions to Minnesota's Economy."

"Minnesota's immigration story is one that is being played out across the nation - that immigrants are a driving force behind the state's economic recovery and success," said John Feinblatt, chairman of the Partnership for a New American Economy.

Immigrants generated more than $1 billion in state and local taxes in 2013, covering public service bills throughout the state, said the study, released in October. The purchasing power of foreign- born Minnesotans reached more than $7.7 billion last year.

Through their wages and earnings, immigrants also generated more than $1.5 billion in Social Security and Medicare that year. In 2012, they contributed more than $22.4 billion to state's GDP.

Abdirahman Kahin, owner and operator of Afro Deli and Catering in Minneapolis, applauded the study for highlighting the contributions his immigrant community is making.

It's important that Minnesotans learn about the success stories of immigrants and their economic contributions, Kahin said Sunday. "We're not only here [to make a living] -- We're here to contribute."

His Afro Deli's new twin restaurant will open January in St. Paul. "Minnesota is one of the best places to start a business and to thrive," he said. "When it comes to a space, when it comes to customers, Minnesota is a good place for immigrants."

Immigrant employees increase

Since 1990, the number of immigrant employees in Minnesota increased from about 53,000 to 230,000, according to another report, "The Economic Contributions of Immigrants in Minnesota."

Employment sectors that commonly hire immigrants in large numbers include manufacturing as well as education and health services -- and they bridge critical workforce gaps, stated the study.

More than one in every five employees in the manufacturing industry was an immigrant in 2012, the study said. …

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