The rise of automation has led experts and workers to debate whether robots will steal jobs, augment employees, free them up to do more complex tasks, or some combination thereof. While potential benefits of the artificial intelligence (AI) revolution include more productive work and employees, this technology could also lead to upheaval in the job market, according to a recent report from SmartAsset. And certain states will feel the impact more than others, the report found.
The report examined data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics and Oxford University, comparing the jobs most likely to be impacted by automation to the number of workers holding those occupations in each state, to determine the vulnerability of each state’s working population.
The American South faces the most trouble, the report found, with several of those states making the top 10. Along with the South, three states in the Great Plains region were also on the list, the report found.
SEE: IT leader’s guide to the future of artificial intelligence (Tech Pro Research)
In terms of the types of jobs, telemarketers, title examiners, abstractors and searchers, hand sewers, and insurance underwriters are most at risk for losing their jobs, facing a 99% chance of being automated in the near future, the report found. However, these jobs do not employ a large population, it added. The jobs with the largest employment figures and highest risk of automation are retail salespeople (92% risk), cashiers (97%), and fast food workers (92%).
Here are the top 10 states where jobs are most at risk of being eliminated by automation, according to the report.
Nearly three in five jobs in Nevada are at risk of being stolen by robots, the report found. While like other states, waiters, cashiers, and fast food employees make up a large portion of the most vulnerable workers, Nevada also is at greater risk due to the dominance of the gambling and hotel industry in the state’s economy. Gaming dealers, maids, and bartenders all face a greater than 65% chance of being automated, the report found.
2. South Dakota
Along with retail workers, South Dakota contains a large population of trailer truck drivers and freight stock and material movers, both of which are at a high risk of automation.
In Wyoming, retail jobs are the most at-risk occupation, along with trailer truck drivers and construction equipment operators.
Again, cashiers are at the greatest risk in Louisiana, where self-checkout machines are increasingly prevalent.
Montana has a large population of retail workers, cashiers, and general office clerks, all of which are likely to be automated.
6. South Carolina
More than 1.1 million jobs are at risk in South Carolina, the report found.
Like the others, Mississippi has large numbers of retail salespeople, cashiers, hand laborers, and material movers.
Florida is one of the largest states in the US, and faces severe risk of automation as well, with an estimated 4.6 million out of the state’s roughly 8.4 million jobs at risk of being automated, the report found.
In Texas, the top three occupations with the most jobs at risk are retail salesperson, fast food preparers, and general office clerks.
Just under 55% of all jobs in Alabama are at risk of automation, representing 1.05 million jobs, the report found.
However, this doesn’t mean that all hope is lost. Gartner predicts that while AI will eliminate 1.8 million jobs by 2020, it will create 2.3 million more. And 10 of the fastest-growing jobs in the world, including software engineers, marketing specialists, and HR workers, require people skills, not AI, according to a recent LinkedIn report.
To see the full list of how all 50 states rank, click here.
The big takeaways for tech leaders:
- Telemarketers, title examiners, abstractors and searchers, hand sewers, and insurance underwriters face a 99% chance of being automated in the near future. — SmartAsset, 2018
- The US states where the most jobs are at risk of automation are Nevada, South Dakota, and Wyoming. — SmartAsset, 2018