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1/3 of Jobs will be Lost to Automation

By 2030 800 million jobs will be lost worldwide due to automation, action must be taken now

Brian Young's picture
Nov 29, 2017

We have all heard about job loss due to automation. Across the mid-west, factories are looking more and more like a sci-fi movie with robots doing all of the work. UCOMM has also reported how automation is taking over in industries like coal and fast food. A new report now says that within the next 13 years, nearly 33% of jobs will be eliminated due to automation.

An eight-month study that was conducted by the McKinsey Global Institute found that by 2030, 800 million people worldwide will be made jobless thanks to automation. Some countries will be hit harder than others. For developed countries like the United States and Germany, McKinsey projects that 1/3 of the workers will be made jobless, while China can expect 100 million citizens to become jobless. The study found that 39-70 million jobs in the United States could be automated. While about 20 million people will find new jobs doing similar work, 16-54 million people will need to be retrained for new professions.

Most countries will be able to find workers new jobs, but it will take an enormous amount of help to retrain them. The author of the study, Michel Chui, tells Axios that “It is a Marshall Plan size of task,” referring to the United States plan to rebuild Western Europe after World War II.

With more jobs lost every day due to automation, experts worry about the economic impacts. While corporate profits will rise thanks to lower costs and higher productivity, job growth is expected in low wage industries, where it is cheaper to pay someone minimum wage than to automate the job. Recently, major industrialists like Elon Musk and Sir Richard Branson have pushed the idea that there should be a Universal Basic Income (UBI) that helps to subsidize this wage lost. A recent study found that with a UBI of just $1,000 a month, the economy would grow by 12.56%.

While the McKinsey study doesn’t suggest a UBI, it does say that changes need to be made to income levels. The study worries that in developed countries like the United States the income gap will continue to grow, increasing wage and job demands for high wage earners, but adversely hurting middle-income families. The study stresses that while these workers will be displaced if a new income structure and a robust retraining plan are created, the change will not be as destructive to our economy. Of course, this means that we need to rely on the federal government and states to actually fund these programs.

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