New American Economy Report Shows Continued Need for High-Skilled Foreign Workers in U.S. Economy

Last Updated on February 23, 2023

Commissioned and co-authored by Envoy Global, the report uses data on the demand for foreign labor, unemployment and job openings to illustrate how various sectors of the economy and the labor market respond differently to crises

Since early 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic has affected daily life for people around the world. Beyond altering life at the individual level, the pandemic has also had broad-reaching impacts on U.S. businesses. To better understand the pandemic’s impact on the nation’s economy and the subsequent need for talented foreign workers to fill critical job roles, Envoy Global partnered with New American Economy, a bipartisan think tank based in New York City, to learn more about the extent of this impact and the increasingly vital role of foreign talent in helping the U.S. economy recover.

Insights from Envoy Global’s report with New American Economy

Foreign talent can help mitigate Covid-19’s impact on the economy

Virtually all sectors of the U.S. economy and labor market were affected by COVID-19. However, our report found that the impact was not evenly distributed across all sectors. Certain industries, namely food, hospitality and entertainment, were particularly hard hit. At the same time, demand for goods and services in other industries increased, including transportation, logistics, healthcare and jobs where remote work is feasible.

Ultimately, the report shows that while high unemployment rates and layoffs negatively impacted many sectors, industries that rely on skilled foreign workers fared much better. Now more than ever, businesses are relying on a steady supply of talented workers to fill specialized and technical roles in order to continue growing, expanding and recovering in the wake of the pandemic.  

Key Findings

Our report sheds light on some key findings across the economy and certain sectors:  

  • Despite the economic upheaval caused by COVID-19, there is a persistent shortage of high-skilled workers to meet employer demands.
  • While unemployment rates are rising in some sectors, demand for computer-related workers is holding steady and even increasing. Even during the COVID-19 pandemic, computer-related jobs increased. In FY2020, computer-related jobs comprised 69.6% of foreign worker Labor Condition Application (LCA) requests.
  • Demand for computer-related occupations is growing and outpacing supply. In 2019, the unemployment rate for math-related and computer-related occupations was 2.3%. That number increased to 3.0% at the end of 2020, but it was 1.9% lower in March 2021 than before the pandemic began. In FY2020, computer-related workers topped the list of fastest-growing occupations in FY2020.

Most critically, our report reinforces the fact that employers’ ability to fill in-demand roles is essential to the country’s long-term economic recovery. Without a solid workforce of skilled technical and specialized workers needed for continued innovation and growth, businesses may face limited operational capacity and lack the capability to expand. Furthermore, our findings support the Biden administration’s goal to make the U.S. a welcoming destination for talented foreign workers in critical professions.

While the U.S. has traditionally had a “one-size-fits-all” immigration system, immigration reform is increasingly essential to help the country recover faster from the pandemic and weather future economic crises.

Download the report to learn more about the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the U.S. labor force and why our findings support the sentiment for broad national immigration reform.

Content in this publication is not intended as legal advice, nor should it be relied on as such. For additional information on the issues discussed, consult an Envoy-affiliated attorney or another qualified professional.

About Envoy

Founded in 1998, Envoy is a global immigration services provider offering the only immigration management platform that makes it seamless for companies to hire and manage an international workforce. We combine access to top-tier legal representation and proprietary technology to bring efficiency and transparency to the immigration process for employers and employees. Through our platform and services, we empower companies to acquire the best talent regardless of where they live, manage their entire global workforce and enable employees to take advantage of business opportunities around the globe. Envoy serves over 1,000 customers ranging from fast-growth startups to Fortune 50 corporations.

About New American Economy

New American Economy (NAE) is a bipartisan research and policy organization that has as its mission to better inform the intellectual and political debate around immigration in the U.S., with a particular focus on immigrants’ role in the U.S. economy. Since its creation in 2010, NAE has published hundreds of reports, white papers, and interactive data visualizations, often in partnership with other leading research and policy institutions and organizations. NAE’s research is widely cited by national news outlets including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, Vox, NPR, and Reuters among others. The findings from NAE’s research also appear often in legal briefs, including in several Supreme Court cases, and in supporting documents to pieces of legislation at federal, state, and local levels of government in the U.S.