Monday, November 5, 2007

Aging workforce challenges state and local economies

excerpted from Echo Press, 11-2-07

As more and more baby boomers retire, the competition in the workforce will increase. The next decade will see the slowest growth in workforce ever seen in Minnesota. Meanwhile, the number of high school graduates will peak in 2008 and go down from there.

State Demographer Tom Gillaspy and Minnesota Chief Economist Tom Stinson presented these facts and much more at Alexandria's second annual Manufacturers and Industries Breakfast.

The two outlined possible changes that may happen in the future:
  • An older retirement age.
  • Employers may want people to work longer to fill production needs.
  • Employees may need to work longer to meet personal financial needs.
  • The workforce will rely more on migration--people moving into areas that need to fill jobs, or because of events taking place in their previous area of residence (flood, famine, war, etc.).
Gillaspy and Stinson said the three new "Rs" for business success will be retention, recruitment and retraining of employees. Business can do this by:
  • Increasing worker education.
  • Increasing the health status of individuals (fewer sick/absent days means greater productivity).
  • Increasing productivity of workers.
  • Attracting additional workers.
  • Making the best use of individual workers.

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