BOSTON — American companies will be compelled to hire more blacks, Hispanics, and Asians this year and in the early 1990s. That's because the nation faces a growing labor shortage and intense competition for good workers, reports the Conference Board, a business research group. The labor supply will grow at a rate of less than 1.5 percent a year in the next decade. That's half the growth rate registered in the 1970s.
The Conference Board also expects management to be hiring more women and more older workers as young white males become scarcer.
``Employers will be under pressure to find new sources of employees,'' says Audrey Freedman, management counselor to the board. She notes that there are still 14 million women staying home all year to care for children and 3.3 million Americans who have taken early retirement.
Only 19 percent of the American population between 20 and 45 remains out of the work force all year.
The number of white men, aged 20 to 24, as a proportion of the civilian labor force will slip from 7.2 percent in 1976 to 4.4 percent in 1995. A similar decline will occur for those aged 25 to 29.
``We are operating at close to 100 percent of the capacity of the population to produce more workers,'' notes Ms. Freedman.