The Skills Imperative: Talent and U.S. Competitiveness

“Like other industrial economies, the United States is on the threshold of enormous demographic changes. With the aging of the baby boomers, nearly 30 percent of the workforce will be at or over the retirement age by 2030. Given that the rate of growth in the size of the workforce affects economic output (more work hours yield more output), a slow-growth workforce could profoundly affect economic well-being. The obvious way to offset the impact on the gross domestic product of a slow-growth workforce is to increase the productivity of each individual worker. Department of Labor studies find that a 1 percent increase in worker skills has the same effect on output as a 1 percent increase in the number of hours worked. Hence, the ability to raise the skills and education of every worker is not just a matter of social equity. It is an economic requirement for future growth–and an urgent one, given the generation time lag needed to develop skills and educate young workers.”

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