- New research from Ball State University indicates that as many as 1 in 4 of all jobs in the U.S. and half of all low-skill jobs are at risk of being offshored or replaced by automation in the next few years. This could potentially displace millions of American workers, US News reports.
- The study says that while not all jobs are at risk, individuals who are less educated and skilled are more vulnerable to job loss. Researchers profiled specific regional communities that have been trapped in economically negative cycles since the end of the recession. They also highlighted that job growth has been disproportionate and limited to a small number of metropolitan areas.
- Areas at the highest risk for off-shoring and automation include the Aleutians East Borough of Alaska. In terms of job displacement due to automation, rural Mississippi, Georgia, Indiana, Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina top the list.
A large share of the labor force is made up of unskilled and under-educated talent, meaning more employers will have to focus on training. According to the most recent U.S. Census report, 33% of Americans age 25 or older report having completed a bachelor's degree or above, which is up from just 28% a decade ago. There are concerted efforts in some regions to train the unskilled for jobs in high-growth markets.
However, when one looks at the areas that are at risk as identified by the study, there are clear racial and gender divides in play, as some job prospects may be limited by location or otherwise segmented as "pink collar" jobs mostly held by women.
It will be interesting to see if President Trump's campaign to improve job prospects via apprenticeships will play out in the next couple of years. Such programs may make a difference in industries like construction and manufacturing. For retail and hospitality jobs, an increased focus on customer service and soft skills may make the difference for employers struggling with talent issues.