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Mass Retirements to Lower Boom on Economic Growth

A report released today by the Conference Board of Canada suggests that the exodus of the baby boomers from the labour market will slow Canada’s long-term economic growth after 2014.

Until then, the report predicts that Canada will undergo an interim period of robust economic growth, during which time the national unemployment rate will fall below 6 percent and real GDP growth will be in the range of 3.4 percent.

According to Conference Board Director of National and Provincial Outlook, Pedro Antunes, “Labour shortages brought on by a wave of retirements will be the dominant economic trend until about 2030.”

With immigration, the report estimates that Canada’s population could reach nearly 42 million by 2030 – up from 33.6 million today. As well, a strong immigration policy will help offset labour shortages. A federal focus on strengthening capital investment and productivity will be required to help pay for public systems such as universal health care.

The Conference Board also highlights the influence of emerging economic powerhouses – China, Russia, India and Brazil and the potential benefits for the Canadian economy of attracting investment from abroad.

Canada in 2020 (Demographics): the baby boomers $1 trillion legacy by Matthew McClearn, published in Canadian Business magazine last October, already touched on some of these issues. It points out that the oldest baby boomers will celebrate their 65th birthdays in 2011. It also mentions that the rise in health care costs and erosion of Canada’s tax base associated with boomers leaving the work force threatens to foist a huge tax burden on younger generations.

Real estate has largely been influenced by the baby boomers. As post-WWII generations and baby boomers pass on, the world could experience the greatest transfer of property assets in history. The question is, how are generations X, Y and Z different from their predecessors? What impact might they have on housing density, the ‘burbs’ and the design of new communities?

We’re interested in hearing what you think.

The Conference Board has been producing its report Canadian Outlook: Long-Term Economic Forecast since 1992.
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