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Labor Shortage 2
(August 15, 2007) In 2030, the population of the United States is forecast to be 363,584,435. That's roughly 60 Million more people than today (Population is estimated to be 303 MIllion in August 2007). That's about 20% growth in 23 years. That's pretty good compared to the rest of the industrialized countries who are all losing population.
In 2030, there will be 197 Million people of working age (between 20 and 65). Today, there are about 165 MIllion. 32 Million new workers in 23 years is a growth rate of 19%. It hardly seems like a labor shortage, now does it.
One theory says that economic growth is directly related to population growth. In order to stave off recessions for the next 23 years, we'd need to achieve an average of 2.2% economic growth for each of those 23 years. That's about 70% in economic growth. So, one of the reasons people talk about a labor shortage is that it is unusual for economic growth to outstrip population growth by 300%.
In other words, population may not be growing fast enough to sustain the economic "good times".
The next area gets trickier to talk about. The demographic composition of the United States is changing very rapidly. While "white" population is peaking and declines are forecast within forty years (on a pure numeric basis), Non-white populations (with the notable exception of Blacks), are exploding. The Hispanic (Latino is probably more appropriate) population doubles in the next 20 years. Asian and all other races see over 200% growth.
So, there is at least some reason to understand talk of a "labor shortage" as either xenophobia or muted racism. "We won't be able to get the kind of workers we want" isn't a very subtle code, now is it? .
(Tomorrow's piece will cover changing definitions and generational issues. "White" and "Black" are virtually useless categorizations. A majority of Gen Y see themselves as "mixed"). - .Send To a Friend
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