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Working age population is declining (un.org)
14 points by tuatoru 13 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 14 comments





There might need to be a shift in some economics around future labour clearing current debt. In reality, less people of working age is part of a massive demographic shift.

We might (for instance) discuss migration of the mass of newly educated, skilled labour from Africa. It could offset this decline in the developed world. It could also allow capital inflows into Africa, as remittence money does flow into Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam and the Philippines.

Merkel was probably right, in macro-economic terms, allowing a huge influx of refugees for future labour needs in Germany. (thats pretty much what the Turkish migration of the post-war years was about, as was the british colonies migration of the same period into clothing, manufacturing and services in the UK)

Some of the work-age labour hole is filled by automation and robotics.


I’m not optimistic about migration solving labor shortages in Europe.

Take a look at Germany [0]:

> By the first half of 2016, 10 percent of refugees who came to Germany during 2015, 22 percent of those who arrived in 2014, and 31 percent of those who received asylum in 2013 had found work.

> A large proportion these figures is attributed, however, to unpaid internships and minor employment. If these employment conditions aren't taken into account, only 5 percent of refugees who arrived in 2015 were in employment in the first half of 2016, 13 percent of those from 2014 and 21 percent from 2013.

From what I have seen in Germany, refuges and migrants end up in segregated areas and bring their various cultures with them, which isolates them from society at large and also makes their relationship with broader society more alien and hostile. And it is rare that you get the people who really need help as refugees. Many of them are young men without female partners, and the gender imbalance is rather shocking and probably also causes some of the issues seen in Europe today.

[0]: https://dw.com/en/study-50-percent-of-refugees-at-work-in-ge...


2013->now is the disturbing thing, this implies 2/3 of the 2013 cohort hadn't found work 8 years later. Thats really bad.

The turkish migrants came to work. I think the ratio would be pretty opposite: 70%+ were working.


Interesting, in the US every restaurant to construction site is staffed with Central American immigrants.

In my area it’s nearly impossible to find Americans who will work on a cement crew, for example, despite the high wages.


This might indicate the wages still aren’t high enough for people who have other options.

Construction work is hard on your body and there is a risk of injury. You would be risking long term damage to your lungs from exposure to cement dust.

These jobs should probably pay even more, and they should be made safer/more comfortable.


A better, blended approach might be some migration, some shorter term work permits, automation, extending the retirement age, and exporting to large growing markets. Nigeria will want cars and machinery that are mostly designed and made in Germany etc.. The surpluses are way more concentrated in those things than less skilled labour from 'Africa'. Given large cultural gaps, there generally isn't that much 'highly skilled labour' that can be imported directly. Lawyers/Accountants are regionally specific, many medical schools are not recognized, and communications skills are a big barrier. Finally, tapping the tiny layer of professionals in those communities is probably going to cause more net damage than otherwise, better to employ them locally in branches directed by external companies with some scale and operational know-how that can be transferred, which represents more of win-win.

Need automation, not that immigration is bad but you'll be limiting technological capacity and capability. All the immigration in the world will not protect you in pandemics where biological liability is a concern

This is going to be a very interesting ride. Usually this happened in the past due to pandemics or war. In this case, it is just people deciding to not want (m)any children.


We're going to have to extend working age and think about career changes there's no other way about it. No matter what else we do I think we're in for that.

People used to retired and die 2 years later.

Not only are we living a lot longer, we're assuming massive medical expenses to the point where 80% of your life 'healthcare' will be well after you retire.

Social Security economics - even socialized medicine - are not going to fix this because the expense is still there.

We're going to have to 'do something' past age 62 both to offset costs, but frankly, it'll probably keep us saner and healthier.


Nowadays employers aren’t interested if you’re over 40. They definitely won’t keep on employees past 65 even if there is a shortage of workers.

There has been a noticeable uptick in news about worker dissatisfaction this year.

Covid-19 may have been a trigger for many people to re-assess their work and lives, perhaps leading some Boomers to retire as well as causing younger people to re-evaluate their work.

But: the underlying power dynamics between workers and employers have changed now, because of demographics that were put in place 20 years ago.

In developed countries (and China), the number of working-age people has now started to decline. For the first time in decades, workers have negotiating power.


A corollary is that Businesses have fewer customers. We would expect that total profits may freeze or even decline in many sectors.

Less children mean less aggregate demand in the future.



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