Where Have All the Workers Gone?

“Where have all the workers goneLong time passingWhere have all the workers gone, Long time ago….”

So I was reading a great piece in BloombergBusiness by Hugh Son and Margaret Collins today that talked about wealthy investors bypassing human advisers and going to robots for advice. I suppose it’s not surprising. Been in a paper mill lately? Very large rolls of paper but not many workers. How about a modern auto assembly plant. No human welders on the body line anymore.

But conventional wisdom said that these jobs would be replaced with higher tech, higher paying jobs. Like financial advisors? No one can replace them! Or Doctors? No way! Or accountants? Impossible!

I would argue that this time it is different and I am not convinced that the public sector has any clue on what is going on. Yes, the private sector will continue to innovate, and every recession brings much more innovation, i.e., fewer jobs and higher productivity.

It really becomes a government problem. There will just not be employment opportunities across the job skills spectrum – where is any discussion of this occurring? I attend a lot of economic development functions, with most of the attendees still relying on job creation in fields from the past in discussions about the future economic development.

Are you worried? I am.

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                        “When will we ever learn? When will we ever learn?”

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