Tuesday, November 14, 2006

New England: Aging Workforce Threatens To Stall Economic Development

Northeastern University’s Center for Labor Market Studies has prepared a report showing that New England’s aging workforce could stall economic development and job growth in the future, particularly in Maine, which has the oldest population in the country. According to the report, which was released today as part of The New England Council’s Older Worker Initiative, all of the growth in the Maine labor force over the next decade will come from those aged 55 and older.
“We believe that New England is at a critical juncture. The aging population creates important challenges and significant opportunities for developing strategies to respond to these inevitable workforce changes. We need to develop specific proposals to encourage the active engagement of older workers in the employment market,” [James] McCaffrey [Mercer Human Resource Consulting’s New England Market Leader and member of the Council’s Board of Directors] said. “Retirement regulations – both on a state and federal level – often actually encourage workers to retire early and not return to the workforce. In New England, we could find a significant gap of available employees and skilled worker shortages that ultimately will hinder our ability to add jobs and grow.”
As part of the Initiative, business leaders will meet with public officials to discuss a variety of issues including: pension policies that limit workers’ ability to mix work and retirement income, workforce development programs that do not serve older workers, and the need for the workplace to accommodate an older workforce.

Source: New England Council Press Release (November 14, 2006)

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