Population trends is one of those overlooked topics — “the huge elephant in the room,” Berry called it — and more telling of the state’s economic future than other commonly cited statistics, such as unemployment rates. Wisconsin’s population is slowing, and as the baby boomer generation ages and retires, the state workforce is “going to be flat for a long time,” Berry said.
“We have a big hunk of people moving through the population that is now on the verge of leaving,” Berry said about baby boomers.
This, combined with more than 15 years of plateauing enrollment in Wisconsin schools, will lead to sluggish growth in the state’s workforce, Berry said, and this could lead to slow economic growth. After all, if the workforce is flat, then job growth likely will be flat, he said.