Future of Work

National Urban League’s 2018 State of Black America Features Joint Center Essay

A Joint Center essay was featured in the National Urban League’s annual State of Black America report.

In “Black to the Future: Will Robots Increase Racial Inequality?” Joint Center President Spencer Overton discussed the importance of consciously moving forward with an equity mindset as industries become increasingly automated.

From self-checkout lanes to robots in manufacturing plants, large companies increasingly use automation-related technology to reduce costs, increase efficiencies, and appeal to customers. Even as these changes make our lives “easier,” they stand to have a significant impact on Black workers in particular–a 2017 study by the Joint Center found that 27% of all African American workers are concentrated in 30 jobs at high risk to automation.

As economic disruption eliminates some jobs however, it will change the tasks of other jobs and create new jobs. This signals a significant opportunity for the Black community. If racial equity is baked into the planning for this economic transformation, Black communities could benefit from these advances.

Read Spencer’s full piece here.

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About Joint Center

The Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, America’s Black think tank, is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization founded in 1970 and based in Washington, DC. The Joint Center's mission is to inform and illuminate the nation's major public policy debates through research, analysis, and information dissemination in order to improve the socioeconomic status of Black communities in the United States; expand their effective participation in the political and public policy arenas; and promote communication and relationships across racial and ethnic lines to strengthen the nation's pluralistic society.