Going through primary research is often difficult and time consuming. If someone was building projections based on national population growth, for example, it may be easier for her to find U.S. population projections for 2050 from Wikipedia than the actual U.S. Census Bureau. After all, the primary purpose of many of public-sector data providers is to get data for government purposes, not to provide information for civilians. As such, user friendliness is generally not top-of-mind.

Of course, at AlphaSense, discoverability is paramount. After all, the entire raison de etre for AlphaSense is to make it significantly easier to find and utilize information, including information that may otherwise have been missed.

In line with that ethos, AlphaSense recently introduced U.S. macroeconomic sources to its content library, including reports from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Bureau of Economic Analysis, USDA Economic Research Service and the International Trade Commission. Having these sources in AlphaSense means primary information is easily accessible and key data points, along with their underlying assumptions, are quickly discoverable. The result is an ability to build models and forecasts on complete information, not select, secondary information compiled by analysts and researchers.

As an example, if I was a residential real estate developer or homebuilder, I may hypothesize that as the Baby Boomers – the generation currently making up the second largest segment of the U.S. population (after Millennials) – continues to age, they may seek greener (or rather, warmer) pastures. Florida, with its warm climates and low state taxes, has long been an obvious choice for those in their golden years. As such, the market for retirement communities in the state will likely continue to increase over the next several years. But even if I know where the retirement-bound will likely go location-wise, I may not want to tie up funds for several years, waiting for the population to age. It would be great if I could get a better understanding of when the majority of Baby Boomers will hit 65, so I could plan my land and real estate purchases accordingly.[1]

Given the nature of my query, I could run a search for retirement age population, and limit sources to just the U.S. Census Bureau. Upon running that search, I come across two relevant results – one, a detailed report on population projections, and the other, a press release about the same report, which highlights the population demographic shift anticipated in 2030.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, 2017 National Population Projections. [2]

The report describes how by 2030, all baby boomers in the U.S. will be older than 65, equating to 1/5 of the entire U.S. population. It will be a marked demographic shift in the country. Given the size of the population, and differing needs of older generations, products and services will undoubtedly be developed to serve this growing market. That may translate to products that help with mobility, increased spending on pharmaceuticals related with aging, and for the sake of my hypothetical job, more housing options in moderate climates with low costs of living and high quality of life.

Based on the information in the U.S. Census report, I should have my retirement communities built by 2030 to take advantage of the surge in the retirement-age population. But with a little more investigating, with the help of AlphaSense, I’d realize that Baby Boomers are planning to work longer and retire after 65. A study from Korn Ferry, the talent search agency, found 81% of executives surveyed believed Baby Boomers would work at least 5 years longer than previously anticipated.[3] As such, I could probably wait a few additional years before my communities would need to be ready.

Given the time required to purchase the land, design the communities, build the residences and sell them, I could calculate that I’d have to start my hypothetical retirement community project in about 2025.

AlphaSense brings the information I need to light, allowing me to make better, more informed decisions (even hypothetical ones).

Sources:
1. For the sake of this example, we’ll ignore inflation or a run-up in Florida real estate in anticipation of population growth.
2. Demographic Turning Points for the United States: Population Projections for 2020 to 2060, US Census Bureau, March 2018
3. Baby Boomers Providing Backbone to Business, Press Release, Korn Ferry, Sep. 16, 2016. AlphaSense search for “baby boomer” retirement age plan