August 12, 2019

Study examines long-term impacts of automation in Arizona

UA Eller College of Management economist George Hammond explains some of the findings.

This week we focused on the economy and an emerging topic: the role of automation and its impact on jobs in the future. Arizona 360 got a closer look at how some companies and groups are taking a proactive approach to integrating the technology. It’s an issue being studied by the University of Arizona Eller College of Management. Economist George Hammond explained some of the findings, including which industries are mostly likely to be affected by automation.

“The industries that are likely to be most affected by automation are going to be leisure and hospitality, especially food preparation and serving. The trade, transportation and utilities sector, and that’s both the retail trade as well as transportation,” Hammond said. He also referred to jobs in warehousing and mining as highly automated environments.

Based on data from 2017, the study found about 154,000 jobs in Tucson are at high risk of automation, or about 42% of the local workforce. Statewide, the risk increases to 45% and would impact 1.1 million jobs. Nationally, it climbs to 46%, which represents about 63 million jobs. Hammond says the full effects would take decades to manifest.

“But what’s harder to study and that we don’t try to estimate in our work is the jobs that will be created. And they may be brand new industries and brand new occupations,” Hammond said. “Think back 30, 40 years ago there were no webmasters. And now we have a whole lot of webmasters. So it will be something like that, that we don’t even see coming just yet.”

You can learn more about Hammond’s report on automation here.

Arizona 360
Arizona 360 airs Fridays at 8:30 p.m. on PBS 6 and Saturdays at 8 p.m. on PBS 6 PLUS. See more from Arizona 360.
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