The Microsoft CEO anticipates a “new era” of a stagnant labour market

According to Microsoft Corp. President Brad Smith, American businesses are in a “new age” marked by fewer individuals entering the labour force and ongoing pressure to raise salaries.

Smith emphasised one cause of the current “increased economic volatility” at the software maker’s Redmond, Washington, headquarters. In his office, he went to a touchscreen computer that was the size of a wall and pulled up a series of graphs showing how population growth has decreased in the US, Europe, China, and Japan.

Smith reported late last week, citing data from the United Nations, that the pattern of the U.S. working age population growing by roughly 5 million people every five years, commencing in the period between 2016 and 2020 when growth fell to 2 million, has changed and is now slowing even further. Major international markets have observed a flat decrease in the work force.

That helps to explain why there may be a labour shortage at a time when the economy is at its strongest and slow growth at the same time. Simply put, fewer individuals are joining the workforce “Smith, who assists in managing the almost $2 trillion business that provides cloud computing services to large corporations, said.

The pandemic-era government stimulus programme, COVID-19 worries, childcare, and other factors have all contributed to the current labour shortage.

The economy has recently been a source of concern for executives, notably Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook parent company Meta Platforms Inc. Despite Smith’s argument that it would be premature to predict an impending recession, Zuckerberg cautioned that the United States could be in for “one of the worst downturns that we’ve seen in recent history.”

Microsoft recently increased salary while also slowing hiring, competing for the few available workers, according to business officials. The software developer also reduced a small number of positions in preparation for the start of its new fiscal year.

According to Smith, Microsoft is well-positioned to handle economic issues thanks to its business offering productivity tools, cloud services, and technology with artificial intelligence, which businesses may need in a downturn. Smith stated that Microsoft had until October to “finalise the implementation” of the reforms he had pledged because the business had lately come under antitrust scrutiny in Europe.

Data from the U.S. Department of Labor from June showed that firms had generally continued to raise pay and hire more people than anticipated. However, it decreased for the second time in three months, to 62.2 percent, indicating no sustained progress since the beginning of 2022.

In the IT sector, population growth has gained a lot of attention. Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla Inc., has reputedly raised nine children, including newborn twins, and has made much of the low birth rate in the United States. He tweeted, “Trying to help with the underpopulation situation.”

Smith declared that he agreed with Musk “maybe the issue. I’m not suggesting the same answer.”

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