Study Reframes Immigration Issue Focusing On What Is Essential In U.S. Economy

Feb 21, 2013, 16:09 ET from The Essential Economy Council

ATLANTA, Feb. 21, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Today The Essential Economy Council released a new study that has national implications for the debate on U.S. immigration reform as it measured the economic value of industry sectors that commonly employ immigrants.  The Georgia-focused study reported that industry sectors like poultry, agribusiness, dining and hospitality contributed 12% or $49 billion of the States GDP in 2010 while their employees paid $114 million in sales tax in 2011.

The research was prompted by business leaders concerned about the future of their workforce due to challenges related to aging demographics, the changing aspirations of young people and the cost of regulations and uncertainty with U.S. immigration policies. 

The Essential Economy spans six major industry sectors from agriculture and construction to hospitality and personal care.  This economic cluster provides jobs that have traditionally been described as low wage, low skilled and include kitchen staff, janitors, landscape crews, farm workers, nursing aides, stock clerks and other non-managerial positions. 

In a key finding, the study found that 25% of Georgia's workforce is employed in The Essential Economy a figure that has been consistent since 2003. 

The Council is distributing its report to both State and Federal policy makers who are focused on immigration policy and is moving forward with a national study this year. 

The research was conducted by the Georgia Institute of Technology and utilized State and Federal data from 2003 - 2011.  The complete study as well as other information is available as a download at

What Key decision makers are saying about The Essential Economy Council's findings:

"Immigrant labor is a critical component of the Essential Economy and knowing exactly how important these jobs are to our local, state and national economies will be extremely helpful in our effort to solve our nation's broken immigration system," said former Mississippi Governor, Haley Barbour.

"We came to the conclusion that any kind of meaningful immigration reform needed to show a real economic and personal benefit to ordinary Americans.  Our report shines a light on a big part of our economy that is really important and essential to the way we all live and to our economic future, but frankly has been taken for granted," said former Georgia State Senator Sam Zamarripa, co-founder of The Essential Economy Council. 

"We know that people intuitively understand the value of our work, but sometimes you need facts to remind everyone just how essential our work is, to the way we live, to job creation and our economy," said Zippy Duvall, President of The Georgia Farm Bureau.

"This Essential Economy report can appeal to both sides of the aisle because it focused on the benefits of hard work and economic growth while also talking about the importance of the workers and what they do for all of us," said Jason Grumet, Founder and President of the Bipartisan Policy Center.

Media Contact:
Sam Zamarripa

SOURCE The Essential Economy Council