Futurist to CPAs: Prepare for the Inevitable

The U.S. economy won’t be getting back to “normal” anytime soon, strategic forecaster David Pearce Snyder said Monday in a presentation to the AICPA’s 2010 fall meeting of Council in New Orleans.


Increased emphasis on personal saving will combine with tightened credit and higher taxes to keep “consumer spending 5% to 10% below pre-recession levels for at least five years,” Snyder predicts. Meanwhile unemployment will remain high, home foreclosures are still rising and a commercial real estate bust is looming.


While Snyder sees an uptick in high-dollar jobs ahead, he offered advice to CPAs until that rising tide begins to lift boats – prepare for the inevitable.


Snyder listed seven economic inevitabilities for the next seven to eight years. Those are:


  • The entry-level labor pool will shrink by 5%. Workers 16 to 24 years old will be in short supply with intense competition among employers to attract this more tech-savvy generation.
  • The share of the work force held by individuals 55 and over will increase from
  • 20% to 30%.
  • Unemployment will remain above 7.5%.
  • Fiscal and financial deleveraging will constrain government and consumer spending.
  • Commerce will become essentially paperless and cashless.
  • Health care will account for a quarter of all economic growth even as the health care industry consolidates.
  • The construction industry will shrink and consolidate.


He also touched on four economic probabilities:


  • Employers will use IT and communications technologies to cut costs, improve productivity and increase profitability.
  • Businesses and consumers will invest in energy conservation and co-generation to hedge against rising energy costs.
  • Corporations will invest surplus profits in “philanthropreneurial” ventures to stimulate job growth; thus nonprofit employment will surpass public sector employment.
  • Local private, public and nonprofit organizations will form consortia to provide affordable, high-value services to cash-strapped consumers.

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