Missing work force:
I’m a bit hazy on just what the “Baby Boom” was.  Of course it was an increase in the birth rate that occurred after WW II.  I got that.  When I look it up the article says that it ended in 1964.  But the graph they offer suggests it was really over in 1955.  Those born that year are almost sixty by now.  The last of the boomers should retire over the next five years.  In doing so, they will enter a dependent life phase.  They (we) will depend on younger people to do the work, including of course providing health care, which the boomers are going to need a lot of.

So there should be plenty of work for those still of working age.  There isn’t.  (The Missing Millions ECONOMIST vol. 408 no. 8859 Sept 28, 2013 page 71) Unemployment is high enough but digestible at something over 7 %.  But the work force is decreasing for more reasons than retiring boomers.  There is rising disability and there are rising numbers who have looked for work and then have given it up.  Of the working age population the number in the work force is about 62% and falling.  The number between 24 years old and 54, the backbone of the economy, has been falling the fastest.

I find it utterly baffling.  Of course I want to blame it all on low birth rates among the middle class.  That would go right along with demographic expectations.  But the numbers just aren’t there.  I mean I don’t know what they are.  If the middle class has not been producing babies even at the low average rate, then those who expect to work at middle class type tasks should be low and it makes sense that in the modern world where such tasks are the only ones that pay well, then sure, the participation rate in the work force should be low.

Some day somebody smarter than I will put it all together.  For now if you are, say, younger than sixty, be afraid.  Be very afraid. 

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