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Regional Snapshot: Possible Impacts of Automation

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This month’s Regional Snapshot looks at automation and the potential impact on metro Atlanta jobs. Which occupations are at greater risk for automation? Which jobs are “safe?” Read on for the answers to these questions, and more…

Published in: Government & Nonprofit
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Regional Snapshot: Possible Impacts of Automation

  1. 1. Atlanta Regional Commission For more information, contact: mcarnathan@atlantaregional.com Us, Robots? Possible Impacts of Automation on Jobs in Metro Atlanta
  2. 2. In Sum • Overall, employment growth is strong in metro Atlanta, but several occupations that employ thousands of residents are at-risk for automation in the future. • The “Retail Salespersons” occupation employs the most workers in metro Atlanta and is at high risk of automation as more and more technologies come online. • Many of the “safest” occupations are concentrated in healthcare and other services that require a “human touch”. • Low-skill and low-paying occupations, in general, are at the highest risk of automation. • Most of the occupations with the highest risk of automation employ high percentages of younger workers.
  3. 3. Data Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Overall, metro Atlanta’s job growth has been near the top nationally for several years now, signaling a full recovery from the effects of the Great Recession that lingered locally until 2012. Though job growth remains strong in metro Atlanta, this month’s Regional Snapshot explores potential job market disruption due to automation. 3.3 3.0 2.5 2.3 2.0 1.6 1.5 1.4 1.4 1.2 0.9 0.9 0.3 0.0 0.5 1.0 1.5 2.0 2.5 3.0 3.5 Atlanta Dallas Phoenix Miami San Francisco Boston Philadelphia United States Houston Washingotn DC Los Angeles New York Chicago Year-Over-Year Percent Job Growth April 2016- April 2017 Metro Atlanta A National Leader in Job Growth
  4. 4. The Risk Factor of Automation • Other major concerns in the job landscape are threats from technology, defined as (the chances of) “automation” • A 2013 Oxford University study found that 47% of US jobs were at risk – A more recent Oxford report put the risk for certain occupations higher • Transportation and logistics at 80% • Sales at 63% • A recent perception survey done by Survey Monkey indicates that 60% of workers are threatened by automation • New data from Burning Glass allows us to assess the risks by occupation at the metro area – Burning Glass defines automation risk as the probability that a given occupation will be computerized within the next 20 years – Burning Glass classified occupations by scoring into risk category quartiles. The bottom two quartiles of scores (including occupations such as Home Health Aides) are designated as having low risk of automation; the third quartile of scores e.g. Machinists have medium risk; the top quartile e.g. Insurance Underwriters are classified as having high risk of automation.
  5. 5. [CELLRANGE] [CELLRANGE] [CELLRANGE] [CELLRANGE] [CELLRANGE] [CELLRANGE] [CELLRANGE] [CELLRANGE] [CELLRANGE] [CELLRANGE] [CELLRANGE] [CELLRANGE] [CELLRANGE] [CELLRANGE] [CELLRANGE] [CELLRANGE] [CELLRANGE] [CELLRANGE] [CELLRANGE] [CELLRANGE] [CELLRANGE] [CELLRANGE] [CELLRANGE] [CELLRANGE] 0 10,000 20,000 30,000 40,000 50,000 60,000 70,000 80,000 90,000 100,000 First-Line Supervisors of Retail Sales Workers Maintenance and Repair Workers, General Software Developers, Applications Business Operations Specialists, All Other Sales Reps, Services, All Other Team Assemblers First-Line Supervisors of Office and Administrative Support Workers Bookkeeping, Accounting, and Auditing Clerks Accountants and Auditors Janitors and Cleaners, Except Maids and Housekeeping Cleaners Elementary School Teachers, Except Special Education Heavy and Tractor-Trailer Truck Drivers Secretaries and Administrative Assistants, Except Legal, Medical, and Executive Stock Clerks and Order Fillers Registered Nurses Sales Reps, Whole/Manufacturing, not Tech/Scientific Office Clerks, General Waiters and Waitresses Cashiers General and Operations Managers Combined Food Preparation and Serving Workers, Including Fast Food Customer Service Representatives Laborers and Freight, Stock, and Material Movers, Hand Retail Salespersons Top 20 Occupations and Risk of Automation Top Occupations and Risk Levels Due to Automation The “Retail Salespersons” occupation employs the most workers, and it is at high risk of automation, according to recent data from Burning Glass. Data Sources: Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Burning Glass
  6. 6. “Safest” And “Most Threatened” Occupations Occupation Name Probability of Computerization Recreational Therapists 0.28% Emergency Management Directors 0.30% First-Line Supervisors of Mechanics, Installers, and Repairers 0.30% Mental Health and Substance Abuse Social Workers 0.31% Audiologists 0.33% Healthcare Social Workers 0.35% Occupational Therapists 0.35% Orthotists and Prosthetists 0.35% Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons 0.36% First-Line Supervisors of Fire Fighting and Prevention Workers 0.36% Lodging Managers 0.39% Dietitians and Nutritionists 0.39% Choreographers 0.40% Sales Engineers 0.41% Instructional Coordinators 0.42% Psychologists, All Other 0.43% Elementary School Teachers, Except Special Education 0.44% Dentists, General 0.44% First-Line Supervisors of Police and Detectives 0.44% Medical Scientists, Except Epidemiologists 0.45% Occupation Name Probability of Computerization Legal Secretaries 98% Insurance Claims and Policy Processing Clerks 98% Timing Device Assemblers and Adjusters 98% Milling and Planing Machine Setters, Operators, and Tenders, Metal and Plastic 98% Inspectors, Testers, Sorters, Samplers, and Weighers 98% Packaging and Filling Machine Operators and Tenders 98% Etchers and Engravers 98% Driver/Sales Workers 98% Insurance Underwriters 99% Tax Preparers 99% Mathematical Technicians 99% Title Examiners, Abstractors, and Searchers 99% Library Technicians 99% Telemarketers 99% New Accounts Clerks 99% Cargo and Freight Agents 99% Data Entry Keyers 99% Watch Repairers 99% Sewers, Hand 99% Photographic Process Workers and Processing Machine Operators 99% Many of the occupations that seem to be the “safest” are those in the health care field which requires personal interactions, like therapists and social workers. Data Source: Burning Glass
  7. 7. 35% 31% 36% 34% 36% 37% 33% 27% 24% 26% 28% 26% 27% 26% 39% 45% 38% 38% 39% 36% 41% 0% 5% 10% 15% 20% 25% 30% 35% 40% 45% 50% Atlanta Boston Charlotte Chicago Cleveland Dallas Denver Metro Comparison Share of Employment by Risk of Automation High Risk Medium Risk Low Risk Data Source: Burning Glass The above chart uses data from Burning Glass to compare automation risk, by category, for Atlanta and peer metros. 62 percent of Atlanta jobs are in occupation groupings with “medium” or “high” risk of automation. Overall, there are not large differences among metros, regarding the overall shares of jobs at risk of automation. However, metros like Boston and Denver--with higher levels of educational attainment and higher concentrations of higher-tech industries—have larger shares of jobs at “low-risk” of automation.
  8. 8. $32,498 $38,725 $32,811 $34,997 $33,939 $34,546 $36,154 $38,469 $46,217 $38,303 $41,181 $38,881 $38,749 $42,294 $75,399 $87,280 $73,261 $75,738 $66,670 $74,314 $79,304 $0 $10,000 $20,000 $30,000 $40,000 $50,000 $60,000 $70,000 $80,000 $90,000 $100,000 Atlanta Boston Charlotte Chicago Cleveland Dallas Denver Metro Comparison Mean Wage by Risk of Automation High Risk Medium Risk Low Risk This chart compares average wages by automation risk category, across peer metros. In general, the high risk categories have the lowest wages. The Atlanta metro’s mean wage in the “high-risk” category is lower than that in any other metro. While some of the explanation may lie in our relatively low cost of living, our area’s relative ranking on this measure is still cause for concern. Data Source: Burning Glass
  9. 9. Educational Attainment Nationally Rank Occupation Number of Workers Percent Change, 2015-16 Share of Total Workers Mean Wage % with a HS Diploma or less % with Some College or an Associate's % with a Bachelor's or higher 1 Retail Salespersons 85,800 1% 3.45% $ 25,490 36% 43% 21% 2 Combined Food Preparation and Serving Workers, Including Fast Food 65,430 13% 2.63% $ 18,660 62% 33% 4% 3 Cashiers 59,980 4% 2.41% $ 20,030 55% 38% 8% 4 Waiters and Waitresses 49,890 0% 2.00% $ 19,230 44% 45% 12% 5 Office Clerks, General 46,830 -1% 1.88% $ 30,430 33% 48% 19% 6 Secretaries and Administrative Assistants, Except Legal, Medical, and Executive 34,930 0% 1.40% $ 37,260 31% 49% 20% 7 Accountants and Auditors 27,500 -4% 1.11% $ 79,070 4% 17% 78% 8 Bookkeeping, Accounting, and Auditing Clerks 26,670 0% 1.07% $ 41,110 32% 50% 19% 9 Team Assemblers 24,420 11% 0.98% $ 27,800 66% 29% 5% 10 Cooks, Restaurant 19,920 5% 0.80% $ 24,050 70% 26% 4% Top 10 Employing Occupations at Risk of Automation Data Source: Burning Glass This table ranks the high-risk occupations (as classified by Burning Glass) by number of jobs in those occupations, as well as provides data on each occupation’s share of jobs, recent growth trends, mean wages, and workforce educational attainment. Four of the top ten job occupations at risk of automation have 50 percent or more of their workers holding a high school diploma or less. These workers will have great need for retraining and upskilling to fill other higher-demand jobs in the “new economy”.
  10. 10. Analysis performed by ARC’s Research & Analytics Group Detailed Occupation (SOC) Major Industry Sector Accountants and Auditors Cooks Combined Food Preparation and Serving Workers, Including Fast Food Waiters and Waitresses Cashiers Retail Salespersons Bookkeeping, Accounting, and Auditing Clerks Secretaries and Administrative Assistants Office Clerks, General Miscellaneous Assemblers and Fabricators Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing and Hunting Mining, Quarrying, and Oil and Gas Extraction Utilities Construction Manufacturing Wholesale Trade Retail Trade Transportation & Warehousing Information Finance and Insurance Real Estate and Rental and Leasing Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services Management of Companies and Enterprises Administrative and Support and Waste Management and Remediation Services Educational Services Health Care and Social Assistance Arts, Entertainment, and Recreation Accommodation and Food Services Other Services (except Public Administration) Public Administration Unspecified Manufacturing Unspecified Trade Top 10 Automation Risk Occupations by Industry Concentration Data Source: American Community Survey (ACS) via PUMs The Burning Glass automation risk data are available by occupation only, but assessing trends by industry is also critical. This table analyzes Census micro-data to categorize at- risk occupations by two-digit NAICS sector. Retail Trade and Accommodation & Food Services sectors are the most vulnerable, but there is also some exposure in the higher-wage Manufacturing and Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services sectors.
  11. 11. Percent of Jobs At Risk of Automation, By County A different study out of Ball State University compiled results across several separate studies that assessed the risk of automation. Using data from one particular study out of Oxford (referenced earlier), the authors estimated the percent of all jobs at risk to automation by county. The values range from roughly 48 percent to 67 percent in the state. However, many of metro Atlanta counties have among the lowest automation risks in the state. Educational attainment is a key factor. 60.6% to 66.6% 59.1% to 60.6% 58.1% to 59.1% 57.0% to 58.1% 47.9% to 57.0% Data Source: “How Vulnerable Are American Communities to Automation, Trade, & Urbanization?”, Ball State University, CBER & Rural Policy Research Institute
  12. 12. Relationship Between Automation Risk and Educational Attainment is Strong Percent of Adult Population (25+) with at Least a Bachelor’s Degree PercentofJobsatRiskToAutomation One key determinant of vulnerability of jobs to automation is the educational attainment for the workforce in a given county. This scatterplot shows that relationship. The counties with highest percent of adults with at least a bachelor’s degree have, in general, the lowest risk of job losses due to automation. Despite this strong correlation, a high percentage of jobs in all counties are at risk to automation. Data Source: “How Vulnerable Are American Communities to Automation, Trade, & Urbanization?”, Ball State University, CBER & Rural Policy Research Institute
  13. 13. 0 5,000 10,000 15,000 20,000 25,000 30,000 35,000 Retail Salespersons Fast Food and Counter Workers Laborers and Material Movers, Hand Cashiers Waiters and Waitresses Customer Service Representatives General and Operations Managers Miscellaneous Managers Stock Clerks and Order Fillers Cooks Driver/Sales Workers and Truck Drivers Building Cleaning Workers Office Clerks, General Registered Nurses First-Line Supervisors of Sales Workers Sales Representatives, Wholesale and… Elementary and Middle School Teachers Accountants and Auditors Childcare Workers Barbers, Hairdressers, Hairstylists and… Software Developers and Programmers Secretaries and Administrative Assistants Nursing, Psychiatric, and Home Health Aides Maintenance and Repair Workers, General Construction Laborers Top 25 Employing Occupations by Total Approx. Replacement Demand 2017 to 2027 Data Source: JobsEQ There are other factors to explore in trying to understand the future of the region’s workforce. This chart looks at the replacement demand of the top employing occupations in metro Atlanta. The majority of replacement demand is due to retirement (about 50 percent), migration, shifts between occupations, or by workers temporarily leaving the workforce. Replacement demand shows that there a large number of employment opportunities in occupations otherwise in decline—as we see above with the concentrations in retail trade and basic services. Of course, humans may not necessarily be needed to meet all of these demands, particularly in the case of Retail Salespersons.
  14. 14. 0.0 0.5 1.0 1.5 2.0 2.5 3.0 3.5 4.0 4.5 Retail Salespersons Cashiers Secretaries and Administrative Assistants Accountants and Auditors Waiters and Waitresses Cooks Bookkeeping, Accounting, and Auditing Clerks Office Clerks, General Miscellaneous Assemblers and Fabricators Combined Food Preparation and Serving Workers, Including Fast Food AgeCohortQuotient Top 10 Automation Risk Occupations by Age Cohort Quotient 2011-2015 ACS <25 25-34 35-44 45-54 55+ Data Source: American Community Survey (ACS) via PUMS Finally, this chart looks at the concentration of workers by age in those occupations that are at the highest risk due to automation. Values above 1.0 indicate higher concentrations for given age groups . For example, in the “Retail Salespersons” occupation, workers are twice as likely to be under the age of 25 than the workforce as a whole—the “quotient” on the left axis is 2.0. This is the case for four of the ten occupations shown. Thus, with the current age profile of these occupations, younger workers ore more likely to be impacted by automation.

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