More Immigrant Workers Needed, Hospitality Industry Says

It is currently a boom time for the hotel and restaurant trade in Chicago, but as demand grows, so does the need for workers. Many businesses say that more immigration rather than less is the answer to their labor requirements.

Chicago on Global Affairs captures these sentiments in a new report. The report analyzes the reliance on immigrant workers across the Midwest, as the Trump administration continues moves to cut back immigration to the US. Job growth in the hospitality industry is expected to keep increasing, and with the native population in the region shrinking, choosing higher-skilled work, and getting older, the report claims that to stay in business, the sector needs an immigrant labor force.

Hospitality and leisure jobs make up almost 10 percent of employment in the state of Illinois, and across the nation’s Midwest, with a disproportionate amount of those jobs filled by immigrants. The report, which is the final in a series, was released on Thursday. It states that the immigrants do not just clean hotel rooms and wash dishes, but also create their own small businesses that then result in more jobs.

Immigrants make up 13 percent of the population of the US but account for 22 percent of workers in the food service industry, and 31 percent of hotel staff, 37 percent of those who own small restaurants and 43 percent of small motel and hotel owners, but around 1.3 million are undocumented.