NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Technology Creates More Jobs than it Eliminates

October 5, 2015

It has been customary for workers to worry about increasing automation, but are machines really taking their jobs or merely easing their workload?

A study by economists at Deloitte sought to shed new light on the relationship between jobs and the rise of technology by examining census data for England and Wales going back to 1871.

The study reveals that rather than destroying jobs, technology has created many other jobs. Technology has also increased spending power as demonstrated by the rise in bar staff and hairdressers since the 1950s.

The trend we are witnessing is that machines are taking over the more repetitive and laborious tasks, but those losses have been offset by rapid growth in the caring, creative, technology and business services sectors.

  • In some sectors, technology has clearly cost jobs mostly by substituting human muscle power, such as in agriculture.
  • The report found that in 1871, 6.6% of the workforce of England and Wales were classified as agricultural laborers, today it's only 0.2%.
  • On the other hand, it shows a 909% rise in nursing auxiliaries and assistants over the last two decades.
  • In some sectors, including medicine, education and professional services, technology has raised productivity and employment has risen at the same time.

The study claims that rising incomes have raised demand for professional services. Technological progress has cut the prices of essentials, such as food, and the price of bigger household items such as TVs and appliances. That leaves more money to spend on leisure, and creates new demand and new jobs.

Source: Katie Allen, "Technology has created more jobs than it has destroyed

,

" The Guardian, August 18, 2015.

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