The global birth rate still hasn't bounced back after the massive recession of 2008. Now there are new fears that those lagging births will deal a new blow to the economy down the road.
Economists say one-third of economic growth comes from more people joining the workforce than leaving it each year. The result is more producing, earning, and spending.
"For the first time since World War II, we're no longer getting a tailwind," said Russ Koesterich, chief investment strategist with Blackrock, the world's largest money manager. "You're going to create fewer jobs."
After the downturn in 2008, birth rates tumbled as fears grew. And births are still falling, especially in the world's five biggest developed economies: the United States, Japan, Germany, France, and the United Kingdom.
There were 350,000 fewer babies born in 2012 than in 2008, a nearly 5 percent drop in the birth rate.