If you look at the economy over the last several years, you get two very conflicting stories.
The first is that the stock market and GDP growth have been positive thanks to companies being profitable and increasing worker productivity. The second is that there has been a distinct lack of job creation. According to Bloomberg View, there are 10 million fewer jobs than there should be.
According to Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee, economists at MIT, this is a sign that something has fundamentally shifted in the economy. Historically, productivity and job growth have gone hand-in-hand.
While many fear robots taking away manufacturing jobs from factory workers, the researchers note that this is a change that took place back in the 1980s, when industrial machines were created that could easily weld and paints specific patterns on cars and goods.
The real problem facing workers today is computer software that can handle the work typically performed in white-collar jobs. From clerical work to handling finances, software can perform many tasks faster and with fewer errors. With developments like big data and analytics, few tasks will require human input in the years ahead.
This means that two types of jobs will do well in the future: those that benefit from computer assistance, like programming, engineering, and design, and low-skill jobs that require the basic problem-solving abilities that humans still have over machines, like janitorial and restaurant services.
For a better idea of what this means for the economy and the future of the work force, check out the full article at MIT Technology Review.
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