Automatic Job Storm Coming

 

Almost every weekday, some arm of the US government issues some sort of economic statistic. News media and financial analysts review and report it. Then 99.9% of the adult population, and probably 90% of the financial industry, forget all about it. And they’re probably right to do so.

The monthly jobs report isn’t like that. Yes, any single month doesn’t tell us much. Yes, the Labor Department’s methodology has some flaws, both major and minor. But imperfect as it is, the jobs report is our best look at the economy’s pulse. Jobs matter in a visceral way to almost all of us, as you know well if you’ve ever lost one. Almost any survey that asked questions around employment would reveal the angst that many Americans feel about the possibility of losing their jobs.

Right now, automation tops the list of things that might threaten our jobs. Artificial intelligence and robotics technology are rapidly learning to do what human workers do, but better, faster, and cheaper. Continue reading

Fading College Dream Saps U.S. Economy of Productivity Miracle

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For decades, a growing pool of college graduates poured into the U.S. labor market, boosting productivity and shaping America’s status as the world’s dominant economic power.

That driver of growth is diminishing. Enrollment has declined every year since peaking in 2011, according to the Census Bureau and the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center. The reasons include an aging population, rising tuition costs and a healthy rate of hiring that lessens the demand for learning. Continue reading