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2019.02.01

【Aging, safety net and fiscal crisis in Japan】No.152: Projection of the number of workers in 2040

In this column series, Yukihiro Matsuyama, Research Director at CIGS introduces the latest information about aging, safety net and fiscal crisis in Japan with data of international comparison.

In January 2019, the Ministry of Health, Labour, and Welfare released a projection of the number of workers in 2040. Table 1 shows the outline. Case A is based on the assumption that the real GDP growth rate by 2040 is almost zero and the participation of the elderly and women in the labor force will not improve either. Case B mirrors the optimism of the economic and fiscal projection released by the government in July 2018 (see Column No.140), in which the participation of women and the elderly in the labor force will improve.


In Case A, the number of workers is projected to decrease by 19.7% from 65,300,000 in 2017 to 52,450,000 in 2040. In Case B, with an optimistic assumption, the decrease in the number of workers is reduced from 12,850,000 to 5,060,000. This is because, in Case B, an additional 2,810,000 workers aged 30 to 59 years and 4,760,000 workers aged 60 years or older are expected, compared to Case A.


Looking at the change in the number of workers by industry, the number of workers in the healthcare and welfare industry is projected to increase sharply irrespective of the assumption of economic growth rate. Securing such levels of human resources given the declining population seems to be impossible without massive participation of foreign workers. In Case A, the number of workers in the telecommunications industry is projected to decline from 2,070,000 in 2017 to 560,000 in 2040. Although I asked the Ministry of Health, Labour, and Welfare about the reason, their response was "This is only an estimation result."


Table 1: Projection of the number of workers                                            (thousands)
152-table1.png

Source: Ministry of Health, Labour, and Welfare



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