US baby-boom fallout described

The children born during the post-World War II baby boom will be settling into the 30 to 40-year-old age bracket within the next 10 years, and as they do, American consumer markets will be undergoing fundamental changes. This is the conclusion of a 10-year forecast prepared by the Chase Econometrics Consumer Market Service.

According to the forecast, changes will include:

* A greater demand than ever before for luxury goods and services (although purchases of mass-market consumer durables will not be as strong as might be indicated by the amount of people moving into their prime earning years).

* A consumer economy divided almost equally among single-person households, one-income families, and two-income families.

Dr. Sandra Shaber, head of the Consumer Market Service, says: "The American economy of the 1980s will continue to be plagued by slow growth, inflation, and lagging productivity. And the overall growth of real disposable income will slow down with the rest of the economy. But the growth of new households will slow down more, so that on a per-household basis, real disposable income will increase slightly in the next decade.

"Furthermore, the shift in the age structure of the population will tilt the baby-boom households into higher earning years; consequently, actual spending power will increase for large segments of the population."

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