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Race and jobs at risk of being automated in the age of COVID-19

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Darlene Booth-Bell

Assistant Professor, D. Wyatt Henderson Department of Accounting - Coastal Carolina University

Jason Coupet

Associate Professor - North Carolina State University

Automation allows both workers and companies to increase productivity through the use of technology. In 2020, automation—through new uses of technology—allowed millions of workers and students to work and learn from home to mitigate the spread of the pandemic. However, not everyone benefits from the effects of automation, particularly not those whose jobs are eliminated as a result of automation. In this analysis, we ask: How will the acceleration of automation, spurred by the COVID-19 pandemic, directly affect Black and Hispanic workers, communities and institutions? Using an Automation Risk Index developed by Frey and Osborne (2017), we identity the occupations and people who are most at risk of job loss due to automation. We propose increased investments in higher education and workforce training programs to create pipelines to jobs with lower risk of automation. Read the full paper here.

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