Automation could kill 73 million United States jobs by 2030

Andrew Cummings
November 29, 2017

According to consultancy group McKinsey, up to 375 million individuals - or 14 per cent of all workers globally - may need to learn new skills in a bid to offset the threat of unemployment posed by automation, particularly in advanced economies such as the U.S. and Germany. McKinsey noted that: "Dire predictions about robots taking our jobs are overblown".

The report also said as many as 375 million workers may require retraining to offset the possibility of unemployment.

Lund added that she believes the transition will be a hard one. It concludes that from zero to a third of work activities could be displaced by 2030.

McKinsey notes that governments will have to develop and provide extensive job retraining to help displaced workers as well as providing more generous income supplements.

In other words, between 16 million and 54 million workers, which is equal to approximately 33% of the workforce in the USA, would require retraining for new occupations. The consulting firm now estimates that between 400 million and 800 million individuals globally could be displaced by automation and need to find new work. Advanced economies such as the US that have higher wages are more vulnerable to the adoption of labor-saving technology.

The growth in employment required to replace jobs lost will come partly through automation itself, as new workers will be needed to man the machines, and from the increased economic growth and productivity that the new automation would generate through larger profits by companies and an increase in wages. Also, however, jobs will be created from rising incomes and consumption, an aging population that will demand more health care professionals and investment in infrastructure and renewable energy, the study says. Physical jobs are the most at risk, including machinery workers or people who prepare fast food.

While automation and artificial intelligence (AI) will be good for productivity and economic growth, millions of employees may need to switch occupations or upgrade their skills.

Even under the more rapid spread of the technologies, the authors conclude that the six major countries they studied in detail, including the US, should be at or near full employment by 2030.

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