Ken and Alan, you agree that the workforce shortage projections don’t quite jive. You’re not alone. It seems counterintuitive to think we’ll have an extended worker deficit, especially when every one of us knows at least one person who’s out of work right now!
All you have to do is run some numbers to see how it could, indeed, happen. There are 78 million baby boomers in the workforce and only 44 million Gen Xers to replace them as they retire. Some have called this the “Graying of America.” Check BLS to confirm these data.
Assuming even 2% economic growth (don’t we hope so) and current retirement conditions, there simply aren’t enough people in the next cohort to replace those retiring. Alan, you mention the impact of globalization as a mitigator (hiring tech savvy people from other companies or shipping our jobs overseas), and you’re right. Interesting though that 61 countries are experiencing zero population growth or below — they too will face talent shortages.
It’s true too that some industries face more severe shortages than others. Healthcare for example perches on the brink of a disaster as thousands of nurses retire or leave the profession and the aging population requires more, not fewer nurses. Check out this article about healthcare workers and the pending shortage.
Finally, a word about the unemployment rate (less than 6% now). While that seems high in comparison to the 3.5% we were so thrilled about in 1999, it is still lower than the past ten year average. I realize that’s little consolation Ken, when you’re still looking, but have heart. There are jobs out there — and will be even more in the years to come.