Demographer: Drastic changes coming in state labor force

Big changes in the work force are fast approaching for Minnesota businesses, as shortages hit the state because of the aging population, State Demographer Tom Gillaspy said in Mankato.

And he said immigrants, including many from Africa, will be needed to help ease the shortage, according to the Mankato Free Press .

According to the paper:

Gillaspy said many in their early 60s will delay retirement, the huge loss of older people from the workforce will leave a worker and skills shortage.

“If it were just that we’re going to have more geezers, it wouldn’t be an issue,” Gillaspy said. But at the same time, there are many fewer young people to move into the workforce.”

Gillaspy said combating the historic change will require focus on retention, recruitment and retraining.

“We need to retrain workers, even if they’re in their 60s.”

He said Minnesota’s largest immigrant population is now coming from Africa, the only state with that distinction, and those African immigrants are predominantly well-educated.

He said about 8 percent of the the state’s current work force is foreign-born and that will grow, the paper said:

Gillaspy said businesses and communities not only need to help in training and educating immigrants, but in making them welcome. He said a highly skilled engineer from another country may help keep a company located in Mankato. “But if their spouse is at the grocery store and hears a derogatory remark because they look different, that’s a deal breaker.”

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Comments (2)

  1. Submitted by Steve Carlson on 08/05/2010 - 01:11 pm.

    Our public policy should not try to work against the laws of economics. I have said for a long time that federal reserve reports show our job creation is and long has been been outstripping population growth. While this seems counterintuitive, it means that when a business wants to undertake a new venture or expand existing activities, and needs workers ready to hit the ground running or with some training, it can’t find them. Because of that, it doesn’t undertake the new activity, and because of that, jobs are not created, revenue is lost, wages are lost, consumer spending or investment does not occur.

    I support the Tea Party, because they want to repeal ObamaCare and get the nation out of the ditch we are now in. But I also propose federal legislation about the U.S.-Mexico border. First, we should pre-empt the field so no state can interfere in the employment application or employer decision based on immigration. Federal measures requiring an I-9 and whatever other screening like e-verify (if it can be shown to be reliable) Congress requires. I’m running for Congress http://www.stevecarlsonforcongress.com, and believe I can get Congress to follow this. You’ll see other positive components of my legislation at my website.

    This kind of positive, productive public policy is required by leadership at this critical time. It’s not about race, it’s not about gender, it’s about getting off the back of business, creating economic growth and jobs. Remember, we’re competing with the workforces of China, India, Japan, we have to greatly grow our capacity to pretend to compete.

  2. Submitted by Steve Carlson on 09/26/2010 - 12:28 am.

    Here is the link to the whole debate between myself, McCollum and Collett
    http://www.stevecarlsonforcongress2010.com/White_Bear_Lake_Chamber_Debate

    Also, here’s a link to Bill Clinton saying what I have been saying all along about the posted job-hires gap.
    http://www.stevecarlsonforcongress2010.com/Steve_Carlson_for_a_new_jobs_environment_for_Minnesota

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