As we celebrate the end of Immigrant Heritage Month, it’s important to understand why supporting local, immigrant-run businesses is important and why it’s part of our mission at FoodtoEat. Although there is a social aspect to our desire to promote a community that is underrepresented throughout the U.S., and the obvious reason that the food found in immigrant-run restaurants is typically the most delicious and authentic, many people don’t realize that without immigrants, the U.S. economy and the workforce would be facing major issues.
Immigrants make up about 13% of the population but contribute almost 15% of the economic output in the U.S. This is due to the fact that immigrants are an integral part of the workforce in our country, participating in the labor force at 73% as opposed to the 71% of native-born Americans.
Being represented in a variety of different industries, losing immigrant employees in any area would create large gaps in the workforce that U.S.-born workers would not be able to fill. This is a result of the fact that immigrants are most heavily filling labor-focused jobs. Studies show that immigration actually pushes U.S.-born workers up in the labor market because immigrants are creating the groundwork to support higher-skilled positions and providing more job opportunities for U.S. workers in those areas. In fact, when an immigrant is willing to fill labor-focused job that might otherwise be left open, it creates an average of 4.64 U.S. jobs.
Immigrants are also job creators in the respect that they are more entrepreneurial than native-born workers. In a recent report done by The Partnership for A New American Economy, researchers found that immigrants are more than twice as likely to start a business as a native-born American. In general, immigrants are considered bigger “risk takers” because they are willing to leave their homes in pursuit of potential business opportunities in the U.S. Which explains why 40% of Fortune 500 companies were founded by immigrants or children of immigrants, such as Apple, IBM and eBay. There is a larger desire to succeed as a immigrant due to the societal pressure both in the U.S. and their home communities to find the “American dream” and more immigrants are willing to accept the challenge.
Food, agriculture and all related industries currently make up about 5% of the U.S. GDP, an area that is only expected to keep growing. Supporting local, immigrant-run businesses in NYC is not only socially important but also crucial to our economy. By working with our team, you can directly impact the economy: creating more jobs for restaurant owners to fill, producing more food for consumers to purchase, increasing the GDP and ultimately putting money back in your own pocket.
So the next time you’re choosing between a chain restaurant and the “hole in the wall” Greek store on the corner, remember the impact that these individuals (and their businesses) will have on our economic future.