Chart of the Day: Employment Automation & the Changing Workforce


chart Employment Automation

This chart shows how “robots” “technology” (read: automation) have transformed some key industries in the US over the decade or so. It’s interesting in as much as it destabilizes some assumptions about the future workforce needs.

[Source: New York Times, via The Big Picture.] 

2 thoughts on “Chart of the Day: Employment Automation & the Changing Workforce

  1. Matt SteeleMatt Steele

    At this point, automation is mostly non-physical. It’s information management, automating processes and workflows. Those of us in the +164 category are the culprits.

    We need to get past the idea of a 40 hour workweek. As we’ve seen massive gains in productivity and standard of living, we should have also seen a decrease in average hours worked. Economists were predicting this trend over a century ago, but it never materialized (maybe TPTB see it as too destabilizing to let people have enough time to think for themselves and take initiative in the world).

    1. Steve L

      The economists that were predicting that (Keynes is the one I’m thinking of) were operating under the assumption that most work could be divided and subdivided without significant cost. Brick laying, or turning screws, or digging a ditch. That kind of thing.

      But think about your work in the +164 category. How much time would it take to train up someone to do your work for 10 hours a week? How much ongoing communication would it take to keep your productivity where it is if you handed over those 10 hours? I assume you must have read or heard of The Mythical Man Hour? We have more work like software development than we do digging ditches these days.

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