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The 5 Cities Where You’re Most at Risk of Losing Your Job to a Robot

Topics: Data & Research
Las Vegas. Pixabay/Pexels

There’s a lot of discussion these days about how automation will impact the job market. Some research suggests that, overall, advances in technology will create more jobs. But, that doesn’t mean that some jobs aren’t going to be lost in the process. Of course, some occupations are especially vulnerable to automation. Similarly, the job market will suffer in some metro areas more than in others.

A new report from the Institute for Spatial Economic Analysis (ISEA) predicts which cities are likely to be the hardest hit. ISEA’s economists used recent research on automation from Oxford as well as data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics to analyze the prospects for metropolitan areas in the U.S. with more than 250,000 jobs.

Here are the cities they determined to be the most at risk for future job loss due to automation:

1. Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise, Nevada

The researchers make a point to emphasize that automation and future unemployment rates don’t necessarily go hand in hand. However, the speed at which automation could replace less skilled workers is a concern for the economy, and for individuals, in regions like the Las Vegas metropolitan area. This report estimates that 65.2 percent of the jobs here are automatable.

“The replacement of jobs by machines has been happening continuously since the Industrial Revolution, but it’s expected to significantly accelerate in the coming 10 to 20 years. Pretty much everyone will be affected, but some metropolitan areas will see a lot more jobs vanish than others,” Professor Johannes Moenius, founding director of ISEA, is quoted as saying in the report.

He went on to add, “This looks like especially tough times for Vegas and the Inland Empire. But even though there may be a few winners, pretty much every region in the US is going to get a haircut.”

2. El Paso, Texas

Texas metro areas have come a long way in recent years in terms of their recovery from the recession. Texas cities dominated a recent list from WalletHub about this economic recovery. Specifically, El Paso came in third for highest decrease in the poverty rate. The assessment that 63.9 percent of the jobs in this city are vulnerable to automation threatens this newly regained stability.

3. Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, California

This report estimates that up to 62.6 percent of the jobs in this region are automatable. However, thanks to recent gains in the real estate and job market, San Bernardino County’s economy has been expanding quickly over the course of the last few years. Automation could threaten that growth.

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4. Greensboro-High Point, North Carolina

According to the findings of this report, the Greensboro-High Point metropolitan area is also likely to be impacted by automation in a major way: 62.5 percent of the jobs in this area are automatable.

“The impact of automation on jobs is likely to be more severe than previously anticipated,” the report states. “Based on recent advances in machine learning and mobile robotics, even non-routine jobs like truck driving, healthcare diagnostics, or even education can be affected.”

5. North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton, Florida

In this metro area, 62.4 percent of jobs are at risk of being lost due to automation. This city rounds out the list of the five most vulnerable cities. And, it’s located in yet another region of the country.

The metro areas listed in the report are all over the map, but many are inland cities that offer relatively low wages. Businesses and individuals in these areas should think about the future now and consider how they’re going to make adjustments to counter the potential impact of the changes that are likely to come due to automation.

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