The government’s Fiscal 2016 Annual Report on the Japanese Economy and Public Finance, released on Aug. 2, took up the issue of the notable labor shortage in nursing care and construction with the decline in the population and the aging of the population accompanying the drop in the birthrate. The report pointed out that economic growth could be hamstrung if necessary services are not provided, and it stressed the importance of further encouraging the employment of older persons and women.
According to the annual report, the population aged 15–64 topped 85 million in 2002 but declined to near 77 million in 2015. The labor force, which is the total number of people who have both the will and ability to work, was on a declining trend until 2012 but has been increasing since 2013. The labor force numbered 65.55 million persons in 2012 and 65.98 million persons in 2015. If the baby-boomer generation leaves work due to old age, however, there is a chance that the number will shift to a decreasing trend again.
To increase the employment of older persons and women, the annual report proposes that flexible work styles be created by eliminating the need to work long hours. There are concerns that there will be personnel shortages in IT, artificial intelligence (AI), and other industries expected to bolster the economy in the future. The report suggested enhancing job training to help people transfer from other industries.