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Automated Guided Vehicles transport the chassis for 2018 Chevrolet Bolt EV vehicles on the assembly line at General Motors Orion Assembly in Lake Orion, Michigan, U.S., March 19, 2018.  Photo taken March 19, 2018.   REUTERS/Rebecca Cook - RC1E0AB539F0
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Charts of the week: Automation disrupts the work force, education in Peru, and labor force participation

This week we learned about the challenges and opportunities facing today’s workforce. Metropolitan Policy Program scholars unpacked the automation of manufacturing jobs in the rust belt, and how to include black workers with STEM degrees in a tech economy. An Echidna scholar from the Global Economy and Development program argues for better investment in education for minorities in Peru. And the Hamilton Project publishes new labor force participation rates. Check out this week’s highlights below.

Automation disrupts manufacturing workforce

In a new paper out of the Metropolitan policy program, experts John Austin and Richard Kazis discuss rebuilding the rust belt workforce. They point out that many manufacturing hubs across the midwest have not recovered from the disruption of domestic manufacturing jobs. This shift has taken a hit on “employee-based safety net protections,” leaving workers in the rust belt without economic security. As the map below highlights, the rust belt was hardest hit by industrial automation and manufacturing robots.

Where the robots are

 Improving education data can help minorities in Peru

Eliana Villar Márquez, 2018 Echidna Global Scholar, writes on the challenges facing Afro-Peruvian girls in education. She points out that since ethnicity is categorized by native language, Afro-Peruvians are lumped in with Spanish speakers in education data. This generalization, Márquez argues, leads to education programs that overlook the needs of a largely impoverished and “particularly vulnerable” community. As the chart below shows, Afro-Peruvian girls are more likely to be out of school in their teens and thus should, Márquez suggests, be the main beneficiaries of social education programs.


Labor force participation for prime working age adults has rebounded

In new analysis out of the Hamilton project, scholars comment on trends in labor force data. Since the trough of the Great Recession, the labor force participation rate has slowly increased, rebounding especially in the past three years of economic growth. Now at 82 percent, rates have nearly completely recovered from the economic crisis. Scholars point out that both men’s and women’s participation has improved among prime age (25- to 54-year-old) workers.

Seasonally Adjusted Prime-Age Labor Force Participation by Gender, January 2000–May 2018Lea Kayali contributed to this post.


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