The U.S. is one of the world’s few economies that could struggle with high unemployment through 2030, according to an analysis The Boston Consulting Group will release Wednesday.
Based on forecasts for labor supply and demand in 25 large developed and developing countries, BCG calculated the U.S. could have a worker surplus equal to between 10% and 13% of its labor force in 2020 and of 4% to 11% in 2030. It calculated Germany will have worker shortages in both years, while China could move from a surplus in 2020 to a shortage in 2030.
BCG noted that its calculations of worker surpluses don’t easily translate into official unemployment rates. According to the Labor Department’s most closely watched measure of U.S. unemployment, 6.3% of the labor force wanted jobs and was looking for work as of May. A broader gauge that includes people who want full-time employment but have given up looking or are stuck in part-time jobs stood at 12.2%.
The consultancy based its calculations on United Nations forecasts for population growth and labor force participation rates. To estimate future labor demand, it calculated how many workers countries would be needed to maintain rates of growth for gross domestic product and productivity from the past 10 years and from the past 20 years.
Here’s how the results for 2030 break down:
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