Explaining the Shortage of Skilled Workers and Why It Will Get Worse

Companies complain about the lack of skilled workers. What's going on?
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Employment Population Ratios Jan 1999  to  2020-05

Employment Population Ratios

  • The percentage of people age 16-19 who are working bottomed at the end of the great recession and has risen steadily since. 
  • Age group 16-19 is the only employment age group that is above the pre-Covid level.
  • Employment in age group 65+ has risen nonstop until Covid.
  • Employment in age group 60-64 took a deep dive. 

Employment Change in Thousands 

Employment Change in Thopusands 2021-05
  • Since February 2020, employment in age group 60-64, a highly skilled age group, is down 5,364,000.
  • Since February 2020, employment in age group 16-19, a highly unskilled age group, is up by 72,000. 
  • Age group 16-19 is the only age group whose employment is above the pre-Covid high. 

Population vs Population in January 2000 

Population vs Population in January 2000 2021-05

Key Population Stats Since January 2000 

  1. The total population has increased by 49.693 million.
  2. The population in age group 55 and older is up by 40.586 million.
  3. The population in age group 60-64 is up by 10.465 million.
  4. The population in age group 16-54 is up by only 9.107 million

Looking Ahead 

  • In the next 5 years, over 10 million workers will move from age group 60-64 into age group 65+ (point 3 above)
  • The employment population ratio of age group 60-64 is 48.99% down from 56.11% pre-Covid.
  • The employment population ratio of age group 65+ is 14.27% down from 20.10% pre-Covid.

The shortage of skilled labor is poised to get worse.

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