Race and Jobs at Risk of Being Automated in the Age of COVID-19

November 8, 2021

On November 3, 2021, Brookings Metro Fellow Kristen Broady testified to the U.S. House Select Committee on Economic Disparity and Fairness in Growth, during a hearing titled Our Changing Economy: The Economic Effects of Technological Innovation, Automation and the Future of Work.

Broady’s research, as detailed in her written testimony, details how the pandemic has and is likely to continue to accelerate the automation of jobs and the emergence of the network economy, while the economic crisis has led to unemployment disproportionately impacting Black and Latino workers who are overrepresented in jobs that cannot be done remotely and in jobs considered to be frontline or essential, putting them at higher risk both of being laid off and of being exposed to the virus.

Broady provides several recommendations to counteract automation susceptibility, including investing in higher education, particularly in historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and minority serving institutions (MSIs). Additionally, Broady notes that the higher education sector should focus on retention, graduation, and placement of Black and Latino students.

To read Broady’s full testimony, click here. To watch the testimony video, click here.