WASHINGTON — As America’s job market rebounds this summer and the need for workers intensifies, employers won’t likely have a chance to relax anytime soon. Worker shortages will likely persist for years after the fast-reopening economy shakes off its growing pains.
Consider that the number of working age people did something last year it had never done in the nation’s history: It shrank.
Estimates from the Census Bureau showed that the U.S. population ages 16 through 64 fell 0.1 percent in 2020 — a scant drop but the first decline of any kind after decades of steady increases. It reflected a sharp fall in immigration, the retirements of the vast baby boom generation and a slowing birth rate. The size of the 16-64 age group was also diminished last year by thousands of deaths from the coronavirus.
A year earlier, in 2019, the working-age population had essentially plateaued.
It’s not entirely clear…