The simple fact is that pensions are still in the news all the time. You might think they settled down after the Detroit pension debacle but do a quick Google News search on pensions and you will see that teacher pensions in multiple states are in the news, Park District employees in Chicago won a court case regarding pensions, and I tweeted a few days ago an article pointing out the problems with a multi-company pension that seemed to be teetering on the brink. This is not a rant against workers pensions though. Pensions are an important part of the negotiated compensation package between workers and employers.
The demographic transitions within North Dakota due to the Bakken oil boom are simply fascinating. These are part of my presentations at the North Dakota Demographics Conference. Some of this may be updated in the next few days because the Census Bureau released new data today that I am still working through even as I write this. Multitasking with writing blog posts and computer code is one of my skills. Ask JT about it on his radio show sometime.
Labor force participation is a frequent topic of conversation on the radio these days so it seemed appropriate to actually share the graphs that I often show JT when the topic comes up.
The recent situation with Carillion should force many to consider the larger issue of corporate, or public, pension solvency. The underfunding of pensions is serious in many cases, and the “guarantee” of funds availability in retirement is not 100%. Whether we want to talk about social security, the North Dakota state teachers’ pension fund, the situation below with Carillion or a different company several of the issues remain the same.
It is a constant refrain on my part. Population is the key. This is true if I am in class teaching undergraduate or graduate students, on the radio talking with JT or the public, or in casual conversation with family or friends. Population is a key to growth, and I think most people get it. The problem is arriving at a policy that encourages sustainable population growth. North Dakota has more jobs than unemployed, and has had the problem for a long time, indicating an issue with attracting in-migration in needed numbers. Neither have we seen a demographic change in births or mortality sufficient to overcome these problems.