This interesting article dissects the BLS (Bureau of Labor Statistics) monthly report. Truck job growth might be slowing, but warehouse jobs are declining. Is that due to increased automation? Or is it due to fewer people wanting the jobs, when the economy has so many others?
One good thing in this article is a discussion of the seasonally adjusted number in comparison to the absolute number. Economists consider the seasonally adjusted number more important for forecasting and for deducing the economics of the situation. However, we do what to know the absolute number of reports.
The BLS reports are always of some interest, and this article captures the facts nicely.
Basically, it says robots will greatly raise productivity and take jobs with a repetitive aspect, displacing workers toward jobs with high cognitive content. But there may be local dislocations that will be hard for some people. We’d better prepare for that and put in measures to alleviate the suffering, if we care about people and their lives. They think about 1.6 jobs will be lost for every job robots take. but GNP may grow 5% as a result. China is the major user of robots now, and the revolution promises to be harder on them than any other country as it looks now.
It isn’t clear from the summary whether the 1.6 jobs lost will be found again in other sectors, such as service and sales, support of the robots, or technical work like fixing the robots. Nonetheless this kind of assessment is an eye opener to concerns we may have in our economy and political world for quite a while.