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Boston Globe: Report sees fewer educated workers

The Boston Globe highlighted the findings of a recent report completed by Boston-based think tank MassINC and the Economic and Public Policy Research group at the UMass Donahue Institute. The report found that the number of working-age adults in Massachusetts with at least a bachelor’s degree will top out in 2020 before declining over the next decade, raising  concerns about labor shortages in a state that thrives on knowledge-based industries.

The report attributes the predicted shift to two key reasons: As the baby boom generation retires, it will be replaced by younger generations that are simply smaller in numbers; and after two decades of rapid growth, the rate of increase in educational attainment of state residents is slowing and will eventually start to decline.

Some experts believe that a slowdown in the growth of college-educated workers would be a positive shift, citing research that says there already are not enough quality jobs to meet the large supply of degree-holding workers.

However, others contend the dearth of quality jobs is mostly a product of the recent economic recession. As conditions improve, employers will struggle to find well-educated workers to fill openings, some experts say.

Massachusetts has the nation’s largest percentage of residents 25 and older who hold a bachelor's degree or higher and, according to the report, the state saw a dramatic spike in that population between 1990 and 2010. Migration to the state accounted for more than half of the increase during that span, but the report’s authors said they do not believe that it will necessarily continue, citing individual tastes, rising costs of living, and immigration policies that could curb the number of people moving to Massachusetts.

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