Probability of Automation by Occupation Group, United States, 2018-2030

Probability of Automation by Occupation Group, United States, 2018-2030

Source: Adapted from Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.

Technological innovations have historically been a positive factor in economic development as they create new economic opportunities and improvements in productivity. While many sources of employment were rendered obsolete by new technologies, employment opportunities were created in other economic sectors (such as services), which at the aggregate level implied more employment. This conventional relationship is being undermined by automation, which is taking place in a wide array of sectors that were beforehand less prone to disruptions by technological innovations, such as services.

The probability of an occupation to be automated can be inferred from its level of dependency on three factors of human expertise; perception and manipulation, creative intelligence, and social intelligence. These tasks are usually complex and difficult to automate, so occupations that have a high reliance level of any of them are less likely to be automated. Manufacturing, transportation and logistics employment are among the occupational groups that have the highest probability for automation since many of the tasks are repetitive. For instance, truck drivers are a significant source of employment, but self driving vehicles could curtail this employment in the coming years.