The Impact of Automation on Black Jobs

23
Sep

The Impact of Automation on Black Jobs

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By Spencer Overton*
September 23, 2017 (updated Nov. 14, 2017)***
Originally prepared for The Future of Work CBCF ALC Issue Forum
Hosted by Congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester
 

Almost a quarter of African-American workers are concentrated in just 20 occupations that are at high risk to automation, such as cashiers, retail salespersons, cooks, and security guards.

The 20 occupations with a high risk of automation over the next 10-20 years (80-99 percent) that employ the most African Americans account for 24.1 percent of all jobs currently held by African-Americans in the United States (4,334,300). 

By comparison, the 20 occupations with a low risk of automation (0-20 percent) that employ the most African Americans account for 13.8 percent of African-American jobs (2,489,400).

The numbers below do not reflect Heavy and Tractor-Trailer Truck Drivers because the automation risk of 0.79 falls just below our 0.80 floor. Heavy and Tractor-Trailer Truck Drivers alone account for 1.7 percent of the entire Black workforce (299,000 Black workers).

Jobs at High-Risk to Automation (80-99%) That Employ the Most African Americans

 

 

Occupation

# of Black Jobs

Automation

Risk

1

Cashiers

580,300

0.97

2

Drivers/Sales Workers & Truck Drivers

524,200

0.98

3

Retail Salespersons

407,400

0.92

4

Laborers & Freight, Stock, & Material Movers, Hand

378,100

0.85

5

Cooks

377,000

0.81-0.96

6

Security Guards & Gaming Surveillance Officers

280,600

0.84

7

Secretaries & Administrative Assistants

236,000

0.96

8

Waiters & Waitresses

196,000

0.94

9

Miscellaneous Assemblers & Fabricators

192,600

likely above 0.80

10

Office Clerks, General

189,100

0.96

11

Receptionists & Information Clerks

173,000

0.96

12

Production Workers, All Others

165,500

0.92

13

Bus Drivers

162,600

0.67/0.89

14

Industrial Truck & Tractor Operators

157,300

0.93

15

Accountants & Auditors

151,000

0.94

16

Food Preparation Workers

149,000

0.87

17

Construction Laborers

145,900

0.88

18

Taxi Drivers & Chauffeurs

143,500

0.89

19

Ground Maintenance Workers

114,300

0.95

20

Inspectors, Testers, Sorters, Samplers & Weighers

94,000

0.98

 

Jobs at Low-Risk to Automation (0-20%) That Employ the Most African Americans

 

 

Occupation

# of Black Jobs

Automation Risk

1

Registered Nurses

369,100

0.009

2

Elementary & Middle School Teachers

328,200

0.0044/0.17

3

Childcare Workers

218,900

0.084

4

Licensed Practical & Licensed Vocational Nurses

197,900

0.058

5

First-Line Supervisors of Office & Administrative Support Workers

150,100

0.014

6

Food Service Managers

118,000

0.083

7

Hairdressers, Hairstylists, & Cosmetologists

99,900

0.11

8

Post-Secondary Teachers

99,400

0.032

9

Preschool & Kindergarten Teachers

86,500

0.0074/0.15

10

Police & Sheriff's Patrol Officers

85,000

0.098

11

Financial Managers

82,600

0.069

12

Management Analysts

81,200

0.13

13

First-Line Supervisors of Non-Retail Sales Workers

80,200

0.075

14

Physicians & Surgeons

79,600

0.0042

15

Medical & Health Service Managers

78,300

0.0073

16

First-Line Supervisors of Production & Operation Workers

74,000

0.016

17

Chefs & Head Cooks

67,600

0.1

18

General & Operations Managers

67,400

0.16

19

Social & Community Service Managers

64,800

0.0067

20

Software Developers, Systems Software

60,800

0.13

 

This data is just the beginning. Next steps include a more comprehensive examination of additional occupations, a comparison of the impact of automation on different racial groups, an analysis of the risk of automation using an alternative methodology that examines the probability of automation of particular tasks (rather than entire jobs), and policy recommendations to help workers, entrepreneurs, companies, and governments mitigate challenges and take advantage of new opportunities to thrive in the new economy. 

*Spencer Overton is a Professor of Law at George Washington University and the President of the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies.  Thanks to GW Law student Arie Smith for stellar research assistance in compiling these charts.   

**The source of the Black job data is the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employed persons by detailed occupation, sex, race, and Hispanic or Latino ethnicity, last modified Feb. 8, 2017, and the source of the automation risk data is Carl Benedikt Frey and Michael A. Osborne, The Future of Employment: How Susceptible are Jobs to Computerization? September 17, 2013 (appendix p. 57-72). See also Center for Global Policy Solutions, Stick Shift: Autonomous Vehicles, Driving Jobs, and the Future of Work, March 2017 (finding that “Blacks rely on driving jobs more than other racial/ethnic groups” and providing extensive analysis of the impact of autonomous vehicles on Americans who work as drivers and policy recommendations).   

***This data brief was revised on November 14, 2017.  Frey and Osborne’s automation probability is organized with a version of the Standard Occupational Classification (SOC), which has an overlapping but a slightly more detailed classification of occupations than the Bureau of Labor Statistics Current Population Survey (CPS) occupations racial data.  Thus, for some subcategories of occupations we have automation risk, but we have racial data only for the larger occupational category. Our revision eliminated subcategories with an automation risk under 0.80, and applied the racial breakdown of the CPS category of an occupation to all of the SOC subcategories of the occupation.  As a result of the revision, we found that 24.1 percent (rather than 26.7 percent) of Black workers are concentrated in just 20 occupations with a high risk of automation.    

 

 

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