There's a crisis looming in our job market, one which is coming faster than anyone anticipated. It's not the dread specter of unemployment which has haunted us in the past. It's certainly not job outsourcing. It's not even the flood of illegal workers from over the border stealing American jobs. It's really more like the opposite of all of these.
What we're facing is a critical shortage of both skilled and unskilled workers which has already become a serious problem in some parts of the country and is likely to spread nationwide within the next few years. This isn't entirely unanticipated. Labor experts have been predicting a serious worker shortage for years with a timeline putting it 20 or 30 years into the future. No one has been paying much attention, but current trends suggest that the problem is going to hit us sooner and be larger than anyone has predicted.
As our population grows and matures, it places more demands on our economy for workers with specific skills and for certain types of products. As the rest of the world increases in economic productivity and population its demand for the specialized services which the United States provides best also increases.
Part of the problem is the need of the aging baby boomers for more medical care, but part of it is also their increasing affluence. As they age they need more nurses and care workers, but they also demand and can afford better housing and more luxuries and more assistance with things like retirement plans and insurance. These are all services mostly provided by younger workers, and we don't have as many younger workers in proportion to our older consumers as we would if our birth rate had remained constant throughout the last two generations.
Another part of the problem is the emerging industrialized world and its need for the financial, business, and technical services which the United States remains preeminent in supplying. Other advanced nations take up some of the slack, but we remain the largest supplier of engineers, managers, information technology, and technical workers. We may be outsourcing about 7% of our menial industrial jobs, but we're also sending large numbers of our skilled workers overseas to supervise laborers for multinational corporations and to provide technical skills to support operations in foreign factories and businesses. Experts are actually suggesting that our economic growth is being held back by the shortage of skilled workers in the US because it discourages business expansion and the launching of new projects.