Friday, October 16, 2015

How population ageing is distorting economic statistics

To what extent is the ageing population distorting economic statistics?

I get the feeling that economists are running hard trying to work out what the impact of all of these people leaving the workforce is having on the national economic data.

For instance, there are arguments coming from the US that higher wage growth and also say that changing demographic composition of the US labour force is artificially suppressing the nominal hourly wage rate. Mmmm you might wonder.

Well as younger entrants replace retiring boomers, they are likely to be paid less because of the way that salaries often reflect the length of time somebody has been employed, rather than the job they do. This means that on a per hour or per person basis wages may not be showing much growth but it doesn't mean that wages per hour for a specific job are not going up. 

To what extent is the exodus of older workers resulting in companies deciding to reorganise the way they do things that might mean less people are employed? Nobody knows.

I guess it will take a decade or two for us to really understand what is currently happening. Dick Stroud

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