Warc Blog

US standard of living could decline

31 July 2014
ARLINGTON, VA: An unwelcome combination of an ageing population, low workforce participation, and declining labour productivity, could mean the US standard of living in 2030 will be no higher than it was in 2000, a new report has warned.

According to global consulting firm Accenture, state governments need to develop strategies to improve the pool of talented labour to meet the country's requirements in the years ahead.

They should offer every job seeker a "personalised road map", provide real-time information about jobs, and co-ordinate all relevant agencies and budgets that focus on increasing the standard of living, it said.

"For the first time in our nation's history, the next generation may not be better off than their parents," said Peter Hutchinson, head of Accenture's state, provincial and local government division.

"For decades people have come to expect our economy and way of life to continue to improve, not decline. Our standard of living hinges on harnessing a skilled workforce to power our economies."

Accenture warned that, as Baby Boomers retire, the working age population in the US could see a decline of 9% by 2030, which would take it to the same level as in 1970. The problem is further compounded by unemployment among Americans aged 16-24, the report said.

Furthermore, workforce productivity is now at one of its lowest levels since 1960 and has fallen below 1% for five of the past ten years.

Accenture analysed 160 countries to form a baseline assessment and also a series of surveys in 11 developed countries with additional interviews in 12 US states and the Canadian province of Ontario.

Among its other findings, it revealed that almost three-quarters (72%) of US respondents have little or no trust in the ability of government to act quickly enough to address employment and skills issues.

Also, only 18% of employers said they had sufficient access to the skills they require while almost two-thirds (62%) of them do not believe government is anticipating the country's future requirements for skills.

Data sourced from Accenture; additional content by Warc

 
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