US wage inflation remains subdued. Many believe this is due to workers' fears about automation and offshoring. Yet US consumers believe jobs are 'easy to get' and companies struggle to find labour. This contrasts with Germany in 2004 when the EU expanded eastwards. So second-round effects from low oil prices and ageing demographics appear more plausible explanations.
Developing countries face more favourable demographic prospects than the ageing developed markets. But it takes more than favourable age structure to boost growth. To reap the demographic dividend, many developing countries need much better conditions for employment and investment.
Just like cars, it costs more to maintain an older person than a younger one. Government borrowing could rise by 3% of GDP over the next 20 years as a result of ageing. To offset this, the UK government has squeezed the rest of the public sector in an attempt to balance the books. This seems politically unsustainable. Is the government about to reverse course by ending public sector pay caps?