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Letter from the Editor

December 2014

As one of 76.4 million baby boomers in the United States, I took special interest in Dave Senf's story in this issue about how retiring baby boomers will affect the Minnesota labor market.

We're already seeing the effects of the approaching gray wave, with the labor force participation rate steadily declining in Minnesota and nationwide - a trend that economists have been predicting for years. As Senf points out, barring another recession, the state labor market likely will get tighter over the next decade because of slower growth in the workforce. That, in turn, could hinder the ability of the economy to expand.

Fortunately, that scenario might prove to be overly pessimistic. Some wild cards could come into play, such as baby boomers deciding to work longer than past generations. Immigration might bring more workers to the state as well. Attracting marginally attached workers into the labor force through education and training programs will also help fill the baby boom worker gap.

One thing is certain: Baby boomers have had an outsized impact on the American economy and culture and will continue to do so in retirement.

Our cover stories in this issue look at jobs in STEM - science, technology, engineering and math. Alessia Leibert examines overall career prospects for people with STEM-related degrees, while Cameron Macht zeroes in on STEM jobs in the health care sector. For someone looking for a career path that offers job opportunities and good pay, STEM might be just the ticket.

John Clay writes about DEED's new Cost of Living tool, while Scott Godfrey makes his Trends debut with a story about the increasing use of Minnesota WorkForce Centers by the unemployed. Alexzandra Boyer looks at four in-demand careers that require only certificates or licenses.

We are ending the year with an outstanding issue and look forward to bringing you more of the same in 2015.

Monte Hanson

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