Press Release

Projecting Future Skill Shortages Through 2029

With an aging workforce and growing economy, the future demand for skilled workers could vastly exceed the supply. A new study by AAF President Douglas Holtz-Eakin and Data Analyst Tom Lee estimates the per-state shortage of skilled workers — both for those with an associate degree or some college, and for those with a bachelor’s degree or higher. In total, it finds the educational and skill shortages could result in more than $1 trillion in lost economic output.

Their central points:

  • Over the next decade, employers in nearly every state will face significant shortages both of workers with an associate degree or some college (nearly 800,000 workers) and of workers with a bachelor’s degree or higher (over 8.5 million workers), leading to nearly $1.2 trillion in lost economic output; and
  • The labor shortage is likely driven in part by demographic shifts, but these findings indicate that current levels of educational attainment are insufficient, and policymakers can address these shortfalls by encouraging higher levels of education and skills development.

Maps below show: Estimated Shortage of Workers With Bachelor’s Degree or Higher in 2029 (in thousands) and Estimated Shortage of Workers With Associate Degree or Some College in 2029 (in thousands). For map data and to read the full study, click here.