The Coming Demographic Bust

Am not sure it belongs here but thought it might be safest. As the boomers retire, there is going to be a terrific shortage of competent workers:

Executives at Cigna (CI), Intel (INTC), SAS, Sprint (PCS), Whirlpool (WHR), WPP (WPPGY), and Adecco (the world’s largest placement firm) have told Business 2.0 that they, too, worry that the supply of labor is about to fall seriously short of demand. Former treasury secretary and current Harvard University president Larry Summers regards a skilled labor shortage as all but inevitable. Economists like former Deputy Secretary of Labor Edward Montgomery and Sigurd Nilsen, the director of education, workforce, and income security in the General Accounting Office, have issued warnings to the same effect. And in April the country’s largest and most influential industrial trade group, the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), added its voice to the chorus. The association released a white paper based on research by labor economist Anthony Carnevale, former chairman of President Clinton’s National Commission for Employment Policy, that forecast a “skilled worker gap” that will start to appear the year after next and grow to 5.3 million workers by 2010 and 14 million 10 years later. (Including unskilled workers, the gaps will be 7 million in 2010 and 21 million in 2020.) “By comparison, what employers experienced in 1999 and 2000 was a minor irritation,” Carnevale says. “The shortage won’t just be about having to cut an extra shift. It will be about not being able to fill the first and second shift too.” This will occur, he adds, without any heroic growth rates or bubblelike economic anomalies; all it will take is a return to the economy’s long-term growth rate of 3 to 3.5 percent a year.

There’s always Bangalore!

Is this a new issue in the U.S.? For the last several years, this has been a big issue in many European countries. Of course, this is a bigger issue here, since the smaller proportion of workers also has to support the bigger pension payments of the retired.

I seem to remember reading about all these IT industry jobs being moved overseas… and all these unemployed Americans… I think what these companies are complaining about is lack of cheap skilled American labor.

It’s not new, but the issues raised by the potential retirement en masse that the baby boomer generation represents in America put it in much starker terms than the more gradual issue most Europeans are facing.

The US demographic problem is different.

We don’t have zero-percent population growth like Europe does, and it’s nowhere on the horizon. Our issue is the demographic “bulge” - the boomers are a much bigger generation than the one before or after them, so it makes financing their retirement a bit tricky.

Getting the boomers through the system is a one-time event, though, so Europe’s experience isn’t too relevant.

Labor shortage? Could it be that unemployment will be a thing of the past soon? Say it ain’t so! It can’t be because George Bush is destroying our economy and our way of life as we know it, not to mention destroying 2.5 million jobs since he took office.

Guess we’d all better get to learnin’ how to program shet metal cutters and lathes. Good thing I still know fortran and a smidgen of lisp so I can steal that job from the illegal mexican that just washed up on the Callifornia border.

So everyone has a job at Walmart selling Chinese plastic. It’ll be great.

From what I’m hearing Bush is going to get reamed in the midwest if the manufacturing situation hasn’t turned around by next summer (and I don’t think it will be).

The demographic trends will probably guarantee jobs down the line, but not necessarily the same jobs. It’s kind of tough to start over when you are a trained tool-and-die maker in your fifties (to pick an example from a recent NYT article).

It’s kind of tough to start over when you are a trained tool-and-die maker in your fifties (to pick an example from a recent NYT article).

I think that’s bullshit. It’s never too late to start something new. That’s just lazy talk from people with no motivation who want everything handed to them with guarantees. there are no guarantees in life.

That’s the problem with our ‘society’, we expect things to stay the same, and don’t think we should have to change to cope with new situations. Were human beings! The greatest of god’s creations. Our very existence was molded by adaptation. What happened to human spirit, is it dead ?

People will flock to fill that skilled labor void. Nature abhors a vacuum.

So, you are saying that you believe the planets travel in the celestial sphere through the ether then? :P

Contrary to what your sweedish science teacher taught you, who was probably a product of the american educational system, there is no perfect vacuum. Even in The deepest reaches of the universe.

The planets are all held together by magnetism :wink:

The space between the electron and the nucleus of a hydrogen atom is a perfect vaccuum, discounting virtual particles and other “out there” ultra-theoretical particle physics.

well, I guess if your going to define your universe as the space between an electron particle and a proton nucleus at a given instant in time, then I’ll have to capitulate. Unless were going to discuss the nature and existence of particles, sub particles, their anti-particle equivalents, andwhether or not they actually take up space in the ‘known’ universe, or whether empty space is awash with ‘invisible’ potential particles just waiting for some energy to excite them into existence and back out again.

I just love how easy it is to derail a thread into a physics pissing contest.
Keep it up guys. :wink:

I hardly think Nature’s feelings play into it.