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Marketplace Morning Report

Workforce is getting older, less educated

Nancy Marshall-Genzer May 10, 2010
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Stacey Vanek-Smith: The United States is undergoing some pretty dramatic demographic changes. The Brookings Institution just released a study that says the country’s getting older and less educated. What does that mean for the economy? Here’s Marketplace’s Nancy Marshall Genzer reports.


Nancy Marshall Genzer: There are now more than a hundred million seniors and aging boomers. But the younger workers who’ll support them are less likely to have a college diploma. The report says 85 percent of African American and Hispanic adults don’t have a bachelor’s degree. And those groups will account for most of our population growth over the next 40 years.

William Frey co-authored the report. He says we may have to rely on recruiting skilled, educated immigrants.

William Frey: Engineers, scientists — occupations that, from year to year, we may need to bolster up.

Frey says we should give priority to immigrants with the skills and education we need. Aging boomers could also help ease shortages of educated workers.

Frey: These folks are probably not as able to retire as they may have first planned. Many of them are well educated.

But Frey says the boomers will eventually start pulling money out of government coffers. He says we’ll have to get Social Security and Medicare on their feet, financially, long before then.

In Washington, I’m Nancy Marshall Genzer for Marketplace.

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