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June 1, 2015

The Odds of Losing Your Job To a Machine

A number of articles now circulating are all based on a 2013 study The Future of Employment: How Susceptible are Jobs to Computerization?.


It's interesting that the 2013 report is now seeing the light of day in various places just this week. The best of the lot is the NPR Planet Money report Will Your Job Be Done By A Machine? 

The article lets you select from two drop boxes, the first is job field, the second is a specific job within that field.

Here are some random results  
  • Cartographers and Photogrammetrists: 87.9%
  • Electrical Drafters: 80.8%
  • Umpires and Referees: 98.3%
  • Technical Writers: 88.8%
  • Translators: 38.4%
  • Tax Preparers: 98.7%
  • Accountants and Auditors: 93.5%
  • Credit Counselors: 4.0%
  • Editors: 5.5%
  • Maids and Housekeepers: 68.8%
  • Janitors: 66.3%
  • Computer Programmers: 48.1%
  • Actuaries: 20.6%
  • Computer Systems Analysts: 0.6%
  • Roofers: 89.7%
  • Rail Track Laying: 89.1%
  • Carpenters: 72.4%
  • Paralegals: 94.5%
  • Court Reporters: 50.2%
  • Timing Device Assemblers: 98.5%
  • Packaging: 98.0%
  • Bakers: 88.8%
  • Jewelers: 95.5%
  • Optometrists: 13.7%
  • Dentists: 0.4%
  • Occupational Therapists: 0.3%
  • Telemarketers: 99.0%
  • Fashion Models 97.6%
  • Cashiers: 97.1%
  • Insurance Agents: 91.9%
  • Librarians: 64%
  • College Professors: 3.2%
I disagree with some of those. For example, there is absolutely no need for relics like librarians as I libraries will become extinct. 

Paralegal jobs are already vanishing rapidly as are packaging jobs. Telemarketing has already been replaced by auto-dialers that say "Hi this is heather, your account specialist". 

I fail to see why we need court reporters. And why can't actuaries be replaced by a computer model? 

On the positive side, I have better hopes for janitors than the study. And while baseball umpires may vanish, football referees won't. I highly doubt maid services and home cleaning will go away, but those will be low paying jobs. 

I could not find categories for truck and taxi drivers, two fields that will shed millions of jobs over the next decade.

It's easy to quibble with individual assessments. Yet, the overall picture is clearly quite grim for numerous occupations.

About The Author - Mike Shedlock / Mish is a registered investment advisor representative and he writes at Mish's Global Economic Trend Analysis (EconMatters author archive here)  
The views and opinions expressed herein are the author's own, and do not necessarily reflect those of EconMatters. © EconMatters All Rights Reserved | Facebook | Twitter | Free Email | Kindle
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