The Massachusetts economy may be booming, but have you ever wondered where local companies, large and small, are finding their new employees? The answer will surprise you. The Changing Workforce, a joint research project of MassINC and Citizens Bank, discovered that since the mid-1980s foreign immigrants, not native-born workers, account for an astounding 82 percent of the net growth in the state’s labor force. Even more surprising, the Northeastern University researchers authoring this study, found that the Massachusetts population would have actually shrunk in every decade since the 1970s were it not for foreign immigration.

Some examples of other major findings: One-third of immigrants coming to the state since 1990 had a Bachelor’s or more advanced degree. Of all the children under 18 in Massachusetts, roughly one in four is an immigrant or has immigrant parents. Immigrants are vital to the state’s rapidly evolving manufacturing sector, accounting for 22 of every 100 employees. The state’s poverty rate for immigrant families is three times the poverty rate for native-born families. It is easy to see why The Changing Workforce is widely recognized as the definitive analysis of the complex role that immigration is playing in the Bay State.

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