Technology and Unemployment

August 24th, 2011 - 24 Comments

Speaking at a town hall meeting last week in Illinois, President Obama said that one of the challenges of creating jobs in our economy is that businesses have used technology to become incredibly efficient, thus reducing their need for employees.

“When was the last time somebody went to a bank teller instead of using the ATM, or used a travel agent instead of just going online?” the president asked. “A lot of jobs that used to be out there requiring people now have become automated.”

“Have they really?” asks Smeal’s John Jordan in the latest edition of his e-newsletter and blog, Early Indications:

The impact on the unemployment rate of information technology and its concomitant automation is not at all clear. The effect is highly variable across different countries, for example. Looking domestically, travel agents were never a major job category: Even if such jobs were automated away as the number of agencies dropped by about two-thirds in the decade-plus after 1998, such numbers pale alongside construction, manufacturing, and, I would wager, computer programmers whose positions were offshored.

The unfortunate thing in the entire discussion, apart from people without jobs obviously, is the lack of political and popular understanding of both the sources of the unemployment and the necessary solutions. Merely saying “education” or “job retraining” defers rather than settles the debate about what actually is to be done in the face of the structural transformation we are living through. On that aspect, the president is assuredly correct: He has the terminology correct, but structural changes need to be addressed with fundamental rethinking of rules and behaviors rather than with sound bites and band-aids.

Jordan offers more detailed commentary and analysis in the August edition of Early Indications.

Tags: , , , , ,

This entry was posted on Wednesday, August 24th, 2011 at 11:20 am and is filed under News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

24 Responses to “Technology and Unemployment”

  1. This is an interesting take on the unemployment issue. I’m not sure if President Obama has it exactly right however. There are a lot of other factors that do come into play.

  2. David Case says:

    Europe is no better, according to a recent WSJ report, Euro-zone unemployment jumped by 188,000 in September, pushing the jobless rate up 0.1 percentage point to 10.2%.

  3. Cheap credit says:

    Very true! Makes a change to see semoone spell it out like that.

  4. Dan Danials says:

    Automotive tech is a greatly interesting background. Automotive technology schools tend to be the best option to get in this business. Vehicles will always be around thus there tend to be jobs everywhere. I learned regarding automotive lifts, ppg automotive paint, automotive electrical supplies, and more in school. Now I am utilizing it every day and I love just what I do.

  5. Decent entry. To the actual coming year or so was a lot better than what travels.

  6. Though creating jobs is a complicated issue in today’s Global economy, the real estate market burst will continue to have a major impact on the economy until values stabilize.

  7. Hi! After i originally commented I clicked the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and today each time a comment is added I recieve four emails with similar comment. Is there in whatever way you can remove me from that service? Thanks!

  8. Very good work, I am truly satisfied from what I see in your website!

  9. Technology is an absolute need we cannot escape from. Let’s just say, it has a very big role in most aspects of our lives. In other words, it answers most of Mankind problems. Across centuries technology evolves.

  10. I genuinely loved this brilliant article. Please continue this awesome work. Thumbs up, and keep it going!

  11. Appreciating the time and effort you put into your site and in depth information you offer. It’s nice to come across a blog every once in a while that isn’t the same old rehashed material. Great read! I’ve saved your site and I’m adding your RSS feeds to my Google account.

  12. Jewel Semone says:

    Good site! I really love how it is easy on my eyes it is. I’m wondering how I might be notified when a new post has been made. I have subscribed to your feed which may do the trick? Have a great day!

  13. Ricky Basore says:

    It has a lot to do with the subject here.

  14. awesoemnes says:

    Thank you so much for your effort! These contents are very interesting to read. I’m very enjoy reading your stuff hope you going keep updating more content.

  15. Pinjing says:

    Thank you so much for your time! These contents are very interesting to read. I’m really enjoy reading your blogs hope you going keep updating more content.

  16. earrings says:

    Thanks a lot very a lot for ones moment. Those informations are very interesting to study. I’m really take pleasure in looking at your stuff expect most people intending preserve writing even more information. You got a lot of very interesting specific strategy to express.

  17. Tom Kirkland says:

    Radiology can be a health-related specialty that employs using imaging to each diagnose and treat illness visualised inside the human physique. Radiologists apply an effective variety of imaging technologies (including x-ray radiography, ultrasound, computed tomography (CT), nuclear medicine, positron emission tomography (PET) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)) to identify or treat diseases. Interventional radiology will be the overall performance of (often minimally invasive) medical processes with the guidance of imaging technologies. The acquisition of health-related imaging is often completed by the radiographer or radiologist technician.

  18. Thank you a lot for sharing this with all people you really recognize what you’re talking approximately! Bookmarked. Kindly additionally visit my site =). We will have a hyperlink trade contract among us!

  19. This became a very seriously great submit. On paper I’d wish to generate like this at the same time ( space ) obtaining serious amounts of authentic effort to generate a amazing little bit of writing… but what things can I really say… When i hesitate a great deal and by no implies seem to obtain a very little anything accomplished.

  20. Damn, I feel bad for all you New Yorkers I see on here. You’re RIGHT where lots of the filth flows in… Stay strong though! My family is originally (except for me) from NY! So you have my support! And to ALL you my brothers and sisters, WHITE POWER!! 14/88! We UNITED will not fail or perish from this Earth IF we STAND TOGETHER!!! WHITE UNITY!!

  21. We are a Health and Beauty Review Site and are always looking for good quality fresh, appropriate content for our readers. Thankyou for allowing us to post a comment at this site, we shall be back to see whats new.

  22. Mariko Nian says:

    I want to convey my admiration for your kindness for folks who must have help on your concern. Your personal dedication to passing the message all-around had become really beneficial and has specifically enabled associates much like me to attain their ambitions. The useful tutorial denotes a lot to me and still more to my fellow workers. With thanks; from everyone of us.

  23. Ten Star says:

    Terrific stuff! This is the type of stuff that should be all around the web. Shame on the search engines for not positioning this page way higher!