What We’re Reading



Demographics:

Longer term what I worry about is that before COVID arrived, it was clear that we were hitting a steady reduction in growth rate, which had not been fully appreciated by the authorities. And the main reason was the population bust. When I came to America in the sixties, we were having years where you’d have as much as one and a half percent increase in labor force, natural growth.

And now we’re down to 0.2, and within 10 years we’ll be about minus 0.2. Europe is already flat to down. Japan has been down for over 20 years, and South Korea will be down momentarily. And China, incredibly important, will be having declines in the 20 year old’s coming into the workforce pretty soon. So all over the world, you’re having declining growth rates of workforce workers. And then the second part of growth is productivity. And if you look at the data, whether it’s the US or international in the developed world in particular, it’s clear that for 50, 60 years, the productivity level has been wending its way down. From in the sixties, which was pretty much a peak almost 3% a year, and today somewhere in the 1% to 1.5%. So if you have 1% to 1.5% productivity and minus 0.2 growth rate in the workforce, and if you keep up the tendency for everybody to work a little bit less, about 0.2 in the US. We like working here. But still 0.2 is (Read more...)