As you know, there is a lot going on in the press these days — with the IRS targeting conservatives, federal officials scandalously obtaining the phone records of AP journalists and the killing of four Americans by terrorists at the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, to name a few. Another key concern is immigration and immigration reform.
Joining me this week on PowerTalk to sort through the issues surrounding immigration is former Secretary of Commerce, under President George W. Bush from 2005 to 2009, Carlos Gutierrez. Before he was the Secretary of Commerce, Gutierrez was the chairman of the board and CEO of the Kellogg Company (K).
As economist and PowerTalk friend Douglas Holtz-Eakin recently wrote, “Immigration reform resulting in net population growth and an increase in employment-based immigration would likely have wide-reaching economic benefits, and would provide a boost to the housing sector.” Companies poised to benefit include not only homebuilders like Toll Brothers (TOL) and D.R. Horton (DHI), the nation’s largest homebuilder, but also furniture, paint and appliance vendors like Ethan Allen Interiors (ETH), Sherwin Williams (SHW) and Whirlpool (WHR).
It’s not just housing that would benefit from a revamped immigration policy. Consider that Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s (FB) co-founder and chief executive, pulled together an impressive roster of tech executives to advocate for immigration reform.
In the U.S. technology industry, there’s a dramatic shortfall in the number of Americans skilled in computer programming and engineering that is hampering business. According to data from the Society for Human Resource Management:
- 65% of organizations hiring full-time employees say they are having difficulties recruiting for specific job openings.
- Half of organizations said candidates do not have the right skills for the job, while 42% said candidates lacked the needed work experience.
As former Secretary of Commerce Gutierrez tells me, if we want to get the country back on a firm growth path, we need to revisit immigration. He would know. After all, in 2004, he was the person that Fortune Magazine dubbed “The Man That Fixed Kellogg.”
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