Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Forecosts Based on Deomgraphics More Reliable

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Forecosts Based on Deomgraphics More Reliable

Article excerpt

Decade-ahead forecasts have the potential of landing far off the mark, and generally they fulfill it.

Everyone can cite special examples.

Remember those 1960 forecasts of the checkless society? The cashless society?

Did anyone in 1970 foresee the incredible double-digit inflation and 20 percent interest rates? Of course not. And if seers in the early 1980s foresaw seven straight years of economic expansion nobody heard them shouting.

And the 1990s? Will there be a ``Marshall Plan'' for Eastern bloc nations whose economies have been stymied by central planning? Will European economic integration succeed? Your guess is as good as the CIA's.

Much of what can indeed be forecast is demographically based. You can, for example, expect the number of Americans over age 65 to grow rapidly and baby boomers to become middle-aged. That much is in the numbers.

It is clear also that recent immigrants will play an increasing role in business, a reality borne out by statistics. By the year 2015, for example, Hispanics will comprise the largest minority segment of the population.

It is likely also that older people will continue to work, if their companies let them, because of health improvements and growing life spans. And that many of them, and younger workers too, will work from home.

The latter is based on a continuation of existing trends, which show both business and individuals utilizing technology - computers, copiers, facsimiles, telephone lines, answering machines - to transport data rather than people.

In 1988, according to Link Resources Inc., a market research firm, 4.2 million Americans began working at home for the first time, up from 2.4 million in 1987. Link foresees more than 30 million in the 1990s.

Arnold Sanow, a small-business consultant, believes many workers will have their own businesses. …

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