The steady pace of technological developments continues to change the outlook on work. Some developments lead to optimism and others to fear, as the future of labor — if nothing else — will be vastly different than it is today.
The proliferation of automated tasks over the last three decades — commonly referred to as the Digital Revolution — led to a slight increase in the number of jobs, not mass joblessness as was feared. Yet massive changes in the way work is done preceded that outcome. Entire industries that adopted automated processed such as the use of industrial robots and computing technologies, for example, shed massive numbers of workers. This trend is far from over.
At least 70% of tasks performed in approximately 25% of jobs in the United States (36 million) could soon be substituted by automated techniques, according to a new report by the Brookings Institution’s Metropolitan Policy Program. These 36 million jobs are the most vulnerable to automation. Almost all occupations will be automated to some degree.
The intensity of the effects will be highest in industries that require predictable tasks. According to Brookings, office administration, production, transportation, and food preparation occupations will be most vulnerable to automation.
The risk posed by automation to job security varies across regions, states, and cities. 24/7 Wall St. reviewed metropolitan area labor markets to find those that are most vulnerable to automation. We used data published this January in the Brookings Institution’s Metropolitan Policy Program.