Mismatch in the Labor Market: Measuring the Supply of and Demand for Skilled Labor in New England Mismatch in the Labor Market: Measuring the Supply of and Demand for Skilled Labor in New England

By Alicia Sasser Modestino

Over the past decade, policymakers and business leaders across New England have been concerned that the region's slower population growth and loss of residents to other parts of the U.S. will lead to a shortage of skilled labor-particularly when the baby boom generation retires. Even with the current economic downturn, there is a recognized need to ensure that there is a sufficient pipeline of skilled workers to fill their region's high-growth, high-demand jobs when the economy recovers. This means not only having a sufficient number of skilled workers, but also a workforce with the right mix of skills to meet the diverse needs of the region's economy.

This report examines the potential mismatch between the supply of and demand for skilled labor in New England. It explores changes in the balance between labor supply and labor demand at multiple skill levels across the New England region and the nation and examines both historical trends as well as future projections in the supply of and demand for skilled labor.

The evidence indicates that, although New England currently has many more workers seeking employment than there are job opportunities, the supply of skilled workers is not likely to keep pace with demand over the next two decades. Although these trends are not unique to the region, New England will likely face even greater challenges in maintaining an adequate supply of skilled workers compared to the nation-particularly for "middle-skill" jobs. The report concludes with a discussion of the role that public policy could play in addressing this challenge.


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