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THERE’S NO DOUBT technology is shaking up the American workplace. Amazon employs more than 100,000 robots in its US warehouses, alongside more than 125,000 human workers. Sears and Brookstone, icons of brick and mortar retailing, are both bankrupt. But as machines and software get ever smarter, how many more workers will they displace, and which ones?
Economists who study employment have pushed back against recent predictions by Silicon Valley soothsayers like Elon Musk of an imminent tidal wave of algorithmic unemployment. The evidence indicates US workers will instead be lapped by the gentler swells of a gradual revolution in which jobs are transformed piecemeal as machines grow more capable. Now a new study predicts that young, Hispanic, and black workers will be most affected by that creeping disruption. Men will suffer more changes to their work than women.
The analysis from the Brookings Institution suggests that just as the dividends of recent economic growth have been distributed unevenly, so too will the disruptive effects of automation. In both cases, nonwhite, less economically secure workers lose out. full article
New research shows that the reality of today’s wage gap is more complicated than the figure often bandied about in Washington—“80 cents to a man’s dollar.” In fact, the gap might actually be much worse, yet much simpler to fix, than we assume.
According to a new analysis of historical wage data by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR), the oft-cited 20 percent gap, which focuses on short-term earnings, misses the context of women’s lives. When mapped over 15-year periods, the long-term gender earnings gap might widen to as much as 50 percent.