Friday, April 10, 2009

President of Liberia's visit and Minnesota's Liberians

I welcome the visit of the President of Liberia to Minnesota. Here is some information on the economic contributions of Liberians to Minnesota.

Though a small community Liberians in the United States and Minnesota have a significant impact on the national and local economy. This report will document the multidimensional economic contributions of Liberians in Minnesota and the nation. The local analysis in Minnesota can help estimate the national economic contributions of this community to the nation.

Consumer Capital

  • Liberians in the United States have a buying power of over a billion dollars. This is equivalent to two times the GDP of Liberia in 2005.

  • In Minnesota Liberian buying power is an estimated $157 million dollars which is almost as large as the 2007-08 Liberian National Budget of $199 million dollars.

Worker Capital

  • Nationally and in Minnesota, Liberians have a higher labor force participation rates – 74 percent (nationally and locally).
  • Liberian workers are concentrated in the health care sector – nationally and locally with 45 percent locally and 36 percent nationally in that sector. Almost 4000 Liberians work in the health care sector in Minnesota.

Fiscal Capital

  • At the national level, Liberians pay an estimated 441 million dollars in personal taxes, almost equal to the GDP of Liberia.
  • In Minnesota, Liberians pay an estimated 24 million dollars in state taxes and 22 million dollars in federal taxes.

Entrepreneurial Capital

  • We do not have good data on Liberian businesses in Minnesota. However if we look at the growth in Black owned businesses in Brooklyn Park, the home of many African and Liberian immigrants we find that Black owned businesses grew over 100 percent during the period 1997-2002 from 205 to 437 and revenue of these firms grew over 70 percent during the same period, according to the Survey of Business Owners, 2002.

Global Capital

  • Exports to Liberia from the US was 75 million dollars in 2007
  • Liberia is an important source for Rubber imports to the US.
  • Minnesota with exports to Liberia of 1.2 million dollars in 2007 was the 15th largest trading partner of the US with Liberia.
  • Between 2002 and 2007 – trade between Liberia and Minnesota rose 1479 percent or over 14 times.

Economic Impact

  • Liberian workers are a small but significant part of the Minnesotan economy. According to the EMSI model the employment of Liberian workers helped create over 12,000 jobs and increase overall earnings by 492 million dollars. This earnings increase is almost the size of the GDP of Liberia.
  • Liberian workers have a powerful impact on the health care sector of Minnesota. According to the EMSI model, if the slightly over 3000 Liberian workers were to leave the local economy this would impact 7000 other workers in Minnesota and create a further earnings loss of over 300 million dollars in Minnesota.


Liberians in Minnesota and the nation are a small and significant part of the local and national economy. They influence the local and national economy in many ways – as consumers, workers, entrepreneurs, global and cultural capital. It is all the more important that the issue of the TPS of some Liberians expiring be given due policy consideration as a sudden labor shortage in a critical sector of the economy (health care) can have a significant on the economy of Minnesota.