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Study: Baby Boomer Retirements Could Cause Drop In Workforce

A map project the workforce for 2012 in each of Indiana's counties.

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A study from Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business suggests the growth of Indiana’s workforce could see a sharp slowdown in the next three decades.

IU Kelley School of Business economic analyst Matt Kinghorn predicts baby boomers entering retirement in the next 10 to 15 years will contribute to the slow down. Although more women have entered the workforce in recent years, Kinghorn says that number has peaked. To combat these forces, Kinghorn says local businesses need to hire more aggressively.

“They may have to take a number of steps including more actively working on job training and trying to do whatever we can to improve educational attainment among the work force,” he says. “Another factor is they may have to increase wages to attract the workers they need. So they will be the employers have to be more aggressive in finding their workers.”

Bill Bartley owns the Indiana Running Company and is extending his employees’ work hours as his business grows, rather than hiring more workers. He says it is a matter of cost savings.

“Personally I think you are gonna see a lot more movement towards part time work, because of the laws that are going into place that affect benefits for full-time people,” he says. “As a business person, you are just gonna have to change and adapt, and so you can survive and afford to stay in business.”

Kinghorn says options to boost the labor force growth are limited. Employers can also try to persuade seniors to postpone their retirement or encourage young people to join the labor force earlier.

Shameka Neely contributed to this report.

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