Open for Business: How Immigrants Are Driving Business Creation in the United States

The Partnership for a New American Economy – a group of more than 450 Republican, Democratic, and Independent mayors and business leaders who support immigration reforms that will help create jobs for Americans – today released a new report, “Open for Business: How Immigrants Are Driving Business Creation in the United States,” that found that immigrants were responsible for 28 percent of new U.S. businesses in 2011 and are increasingly likely to start a business just as the rate of new business generation among native-born Americans declines.

The report also found that immigrant businesses collectively generated more than $775 billion in revenue, $100 million in income and employ one of every ten people working for private companies. The Partnership released this report today at two forums on “The Economics and Politics of Immigration” in the presidential campaign headquarter cities of Chicago, IL and Boston, MA. Chicago’s forum, held at 8:00 AM CDT this morning and cohosted by the Chicago Economic Club, included Partnership Co-Chair New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and former White House Chief of Staff William M. Daley, and was moderated by Andrea Mitchell of MSNBC. At the Boston forum, which will be at 6:00 PM EDT and cohosted by the New England Council, Mayor Bloomberg will be joined by News Corp. Chief Executive Officer and Partnership Co-Chair Rupert Murdoch in a discussion moderated by Gerald Seib of The Wall Street Journal.

“Both parties’ presidential candidates agree that the main issue of the campaign is the economy, and yet neither candidate is talking about one of the most effective and cost-free ways to generate economic growth: immigration reform,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “It’s time for the two candidates to stop using immigration reform as a wedge issue and start listening to Democratic and Republican business leaders and mayors who agree on common sense reforms that would create jobs across the country.”

“In an election season focused on the economy, this report's findings that immigrants are playing a large and growing role in starting the companies that are putting Americans back to work should be an invitation to policy makers to stop using immigration as a partisan political tool and start using it as a way to jump start our economy,” said former White House chief of staff William M. Daley. “Just as their doors are open for business, America's doors need to be open to the very people who are job creators and economic drivers.”

“America is a great nation built on the hard work and ingenuity of immigrants, and our economic prosperity will depend upon our ability to unleash innovation and compete in the global marketplace,” said Rupert Murdoch. “Unfortunately, Washington has failed to enact immigration policies that acknowledge the role of immigrants in our economic successes, or consistently support the employment needs of America’s businesses. We have to get beyond politics and antiquated notions about immigration if we are serious about attracting and retaining the best talent in America.”

The report looks at the steadily growing importance of immigrant entrepreneurs to the American economy and examines the ways in which immigrant entrepreneurs play a vital role in new business creation:

  • While the entrepreneurship rate of native-born Americans has slowly declined over the last 15 years, the entrepreneurship rate of immigrants has climbed by over 50 percent.
  •  Immigrants are now more than twice as likely as the native-born to start a business and, in 2011, were responsible for more than one in every four (28 percent) new U.S. businesses, significantly outpacing their share of the population (12.9 percent).
  •  While immigrant-started businesses tend to be smaller than those started by native-born Americans, they have a large collective impact on the economy. Immigrant-owned businesses now employ one out of every 10 workers in privately-owned companies and contribute more than $775 billion in revenue, $125 billion in payroll and $100 million in income to the U.S. economy.

To better understand who the new immigrant entrepreneurs are and in what regions and industries they make the most impact, the report also examines where immigrant business owners come from, what sectors of the economy they contribute to most, and which states are most affected by their contributions. The report’s in-depth analysis reveals additional evidence of the importance of immigrant entrepreneurs to America’s economic growth in the coming years:

  • Over the past 10 years, immigrant business income grew by more than 60 percent, while income from native-owned businesses only grew by 14.4 percent, a rate not sufficient to keep up with inflation.
  •  Immigrant-owned businesses are more than 60 percent more likely to export than non-immigrant owned businesses, and in recent years, exports accounted for about half the growth in the U.S. economy.
  •  Immigrants start more than 25 percent of all businesses in seven of the eight-sectors of the economy that the U.S. government expects to grow fastest over the next decade (health care and social assistance companies, professional and business services, construction firms, retail trade, educational services, “other services”, and transportation and utilities).

View a PDF copy of the full “Open for Business: How Immigrants Are Driving Business Creation in the United States” report.

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