Minnesota's workforce is grayingJob losses and unemployment news are making for bleak headlines, but demographers say Minnesota’s work force forecast is even more ominous.
By: Kelly Smith, Forum Communications, Worthington Daily Globe
Job losses and unemployment news are making for bleak headlines, but demographers say Minnesota’s work force forecast is even more ominous.
“The next four years are going to be a period of great social and economic changes,” Minnesota State Demographer Tom Gillaspy told local officials Friday in Moorhead. “We’re in a situation where we’re going to have to basically rethink almost everything we are doing.”
Clay County Commissioner Kevin Campbell said the projections aren’t surprising, but “we have to do a better job of planning for all of these things.”
Perhaps the only positive projection is that the area’s population will continue to grow.
Fargo-Moorhead’s population will increase at a “fairly strong pace” – topping 200,000 people before 2020.
“This is really sort of unusual given the location of Clay and Cass County,” Gillaspy said.
The age of the area’s population will become increasingly older, though, as the baby boomer generation ages.
“We are aging as a society,” Gillaspy said. “To the best of our knowledge, this has never happened on a national scale in the history of our species. We live in a very unique time.”
The flip side is that, as the number of those 60 or older grows, there will be fewer people younger than 24 years old.
“Statewide, the number of young people graduating from high school peaks this coming spring and will be the largest we will see for a decade,” Gillaspy said.
And fewer young adults will have a dramatic negative impact on the work force. Gillaspy predicts by decade’s end the local and state work force will hit record lows – dropping to nearly 0 percent increases.
“I don’t think any of us are totally prepared,” said Campbell, the Clay County commissioner. “But we’ve got to get ready."