I picked up a copy of Business 2.0 magazine (www.business2.com) last night, and learned about something very interesting.

I may have been in the dark for the past few years, but there are apparently quite a few people and agencies who believe that the united states is headed into a huge labor shortage. LABOR shortage. Sorry for being obnoxious, but with the way things are going these days two of the people I’ve mentioned this to since last night said "Yea, of course there’s a shortage", their brains auto-munging my words into "job shortage".

The claims are based on demographics. In a nutshell, the number of working-aged people is going to drop sharply over the next few years as the baby boomers retire. The percentage of college educated people is stabilizing at around 60%. And, the number of jobs is going to grow at a slow and predictable rate. This apparently results in millions of US jobs that can’t be filled by US workers.

Business 2.0 doesn’t have the article up yet, but until then, Google turns up a lot of hits. Here are a few:

featuredreports.monster.com/laborshortage/forecast/

www.cfo.com/article/1,5309,9847,00.html?f=features

www.csmonitor.com/2003/0106/p16s02-wmwo.html

www.bizjournals.com/austin/stories/2003/02/03/focus1.html

Not surprisingly, there are nay-sayers as well. I remember reading about the "Y2K disaster" in 1996. People generally thought that the Y2K doomsayers were insane. There’s a little of that going around now:

heather.cs.ucdavis.edu/itaa.real.html

www.geocities.com/tablizer/shortage.htm (warning: this one is moronic)

This is all very confusing. Should I be reading "How to Keep Your Job" (www.pragmaticprogrammer.com/talks/HowToKeepYourJob/HowToKeepYourJob.htm) or "How to Pick Your Job"? I guess I’ll have to hedge and prepare for both.