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US should double legal immigration to fix labor ‘crisis’: Chamber of Commerce CEO

An influx of legal immigrants would alleviate the nationwide labor shortage currently plaguing companies and help to cool inflation, the head of the US Chamber of Commerce said. Chamber of Commerce CEO Suzanne Clark said the ongoing workforce shortage is a “crisis” that has contributed to supply chain disruptions and undermined business growth during the COVID-19 pandemic. “We must double the number of people legally immigrating to the US. And we must create a permanent solution for the ‘dreamers’ — those young men and women who know no other home and who contribute to their communities, but whose legal status is in limbo,” Clark said in a keynote address at the “State of American Business” event on Tuesday. US employers had 10.6 million job openings as of November, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. At the same time, a record 4.5 million Americans quit their jobs in search of better opportunities, with many of the “quits” concentrated in lower-income sectors such as hospitality. Clark and other economic officials argue the labor shortage is exacerbating inflation, which hit a four-decade high of 7 percent in December. A lack of workers prompted supply chain bottlenecks that led to higher prices on everything from groceries to gas. The Chamber of Commerce official called for “achievable solutions” that would allow individuals on the “sidelines,” such as parents without affordable childcare and previously incarcerated adults, to re-enter the workplace. At the same time, she warned lawmakers to “be careful with government policy.” “We are seeing a growing and troubling number of proposals out of Congress that substitute a government check for a paycheck,” Clark added. The labor shortage is one of several factors identified as a key driver of inflation. President Biden has pushed for an antitrust crackdown, arguing corporate greed is another cause of rising prices for consumers. Republicans and leading business groups have pushed back on that initiative. In her remarks, Clark asserted that “government overreach,” in the form of burdensome regulations, antitrust scrutiny and Biden’s social spending bill, threaten to “[undermine] our fragile economic recovery.” “Here’s the US Chamber’s message to our partners in government: be an enabler, not an inhibitor,” she said.




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