WSJ Survey: Expect a Rapidly Shifting Workforce

February 12, 2010 by Emsi Burning Glass

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The recession will continue to create extreme volatility in the labor market and shift the types of jobs that are in demand. Those are two of the findings of The Wall Street Journal’s economic forecasting survey.

The WSJ surveyed 55 economists, who expect a quarter of the 8.4 million lost jobs since the recession started to not return and project slower-than-need job growth over the coming year.

This is why job creation has become such a worrisome issue: Based on that growth projection, over the next year economists estimate the U.S. will add about 133,000 jobs a month. That sounds good and it’s certainly better than more job losses. But with about 100,000 new jobs a month needed just to soak up new entrants to the work force, that pace of job creation will only slowly reduce the high unemployment rate.

That’s why the economists expect the unemployment rate to only fall to 9.4% by the end of the year—down from 9.7% in January. They say job growth needs to average more than 200,000 per month for the U.S. to see a strong recovery in jobs.

This puts the onus on entrepreneurs to start ramping up job creation, as well as for colleges to retrain folks for high-demand careers. With that in mind, the DOL on Friday awarded $225 million in health care and high-growth grants.