Today, the United States faces its tightest-ever labor force. It is about to get substantially worse.
Every country has its own demographic profile, a balance across its entire population structure from children all the way up to retirees. Learn to read that profile and you can parse out lessons about a country’s economic present and future.
The group that matters most are America’s Baby Boomers, a group born between 1946 and 1964.
There are no end of stories to tell about America’s Boomer generation. They are the ones who came of age during 1970s, creating what passes for American culture. Disco? Their fault. They are the ones who crafted the American welfare state, and from it their in-progress retirement has broken the federal budget. They are the ones who grew up in the shadow of the new manufacturing complexes that sprouted up after World War II when the rest of the world was wrecked, and then watched bitterly as those same facilities relocated as the rest of the world recovered under the American-led, global Order. From Vietnam to Afghanistan, from Johnson to Trump, from civil rights to long commutes, from the sexual revolution to technological invalidity, their collective decisions and foibles have determined precisely what America is.
And now? Now they are leaving us. The majority of the American Boomers will have retired by the end of 2023. Unlike any other group that might leave the work force only to someday return, Boomers are leaving because of age. They will never return. The American system will never recover from that.
Join Peter Zeihan Wednesday, November 17 for the first in a three-part series on the here, now, and soon-to-be of the American and global economies. Part I: Wither the Workforce will focus exclusively on labor markets, providing insight as to just how deep and how long these shortages will last, and identifying which sectors will have no choice but to fundamentally restructure in the months and years to come.