The Coming Job Bottleneck

What an aging workforce means for everyone else

Amid the crank and whir of Cummins Engine Co.'s diesel factory in Columbus, Ind., hundreds of middle-aged men huddle around high-tech, computerized machinery. They make good money, about $18 an hour, and are in no rush to retire. "You can't depend on the federal government" to support older people, says worker and union official Conrad Bowling, 46. Meanwhile, the few younger men on the floor are temps, most of them stuck in low-skill jobs that pay, at most, $8 an hour.

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