Will We Have A Labor Shortage In 2020?

It may seem hard to believe right now, but one academic and consultant thinks that in a decade, we might have more jobs than we can fill.

Barry Bluestone is the Dean of the School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs at Northeastern University and Director of the university’s Dukakis Center for Urban and Regional Policy. He argues at Salon.com that after the recession ends, the number of jobs in this country is expected to increase by 15 million while the number of workers will rise by just 9 million.

“This is where workers over 55 could become the Rosie [the Riveter]s of the 21st century.”

Bluestone suggests that people who would normally retire at 55 (who the heck are those people anyway?) might find satisfying work in an “encore career” that combines making a little money with helping people out or making the world a better place. Tutoring, consulting, that sort of thing.

He suggests that if all 6 million jobs are unfilled the loss in “output” could total $3 trillion over five years—not much, but also not chump change.

Is this really anything anybody wants to worry about now? Should we be?