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Aging Workforce – How prepared is the US

Gillian B. White: You spent a lot of time researching the labor force and changing 'Oldest Home Depot employee, 88, still delivers' - www_windsorstar_com_Oldest+Home+Depot+employee+still+delivers_7533730_story_htmldemographics around the world, in your opinion how prepared is the U.S. for the shift to an older population?

Joseph M. Coleman: There are good things and bad things. We have a very dynamic economy, we’re able to react to changing circumstances in a relatively rapid way. That’s a great strength as far as responding to the the changing circumstances of the demographic composition of the labor force. The bad thing is that we’re very short-term focused and I think that the recession only exacerbated that.

In Europe there was a lot of interest in accommodating older workers and that kind of abruptly stopped in 2007. The thing we don’t really have in this country, that you see elsewhere, is a role governments can play in making it a priority to employ older workers. Certainly compared to Japan and in some parts of Europe, the United States government is not really that active. I think partially that’s because we see ourselves as a very market-driven economy, so the hurdle is higher to get the government involved. It’s going to be important for us to find employment for people as they get older because we’re pushing retirement ages higher, but we’re not doing anything to make it easier to keep those people employed until we start giving them Social Security.

Chosen excerpts by Job Market Monitor. Read the whole story at What Sweden and Japan Can Teach the U.S. About Its Aging Workforce – The Atlantic.

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