America Is Unprepared For The Coming Jobs Apocalypse

About 240 years and numerous industrial revolutions from the first, America could be on the verge of a new age of automation, one controlled by Silicon Valley robots and artificial intelligence.

In fact, automation could destroy as many as 73 million U.S. low skilled, low wage laborers by 2030, a recent report by McKinsey Global Institute stated.

The dire prediction that robots could take a bulk of the middle-class jobs — has led many of macro strategists to believe that significant economic disruptions are coming to America.

Karen Harris, Managing Director of Bain & Company’s Macro Trends Group, presented her fascinating keynote tilted “Labor 2030: The Collision of Demographics, Automation, and Inequality” at the Strategic Investment Conference 2018, in March.

Harris started the conference by telling John Mauldin, who hosted the conference, “the combination of a demographically shrinking workforce plus increasingly cost-effective automation will aggravate inequality, constrain demand, and put a cap on economic growth.”

Harris also warned, “this will have all sorts of unpleasant effects in the next decade.”

Last week, Axios Editor Steve LeVine told CBSN that U.S. lawmakers and businesses are not prepared to help low skilled, low wage laborers navigate the changing tides of the economy and adapt to new skills and survive the coming “economic tsunami” via automation.

“The biggest takeaway is that the future is now,” LeVine said in an interview on Friday. “We’re not prepared at all,” he said, for the “jobs apocalypse” resulting from automation.

Some of the difficulties ahead relate to lawmakers, who are not actively moving quick enough to repair America’s broken education system to provide new laborers the skills needed to be productive in the modern economy while automation replaces bottom-tier jobs.

“You see scores of companies complaining they can’t find enough skilled labor…they are not prepared to train new workers. And as a country we have not even started talking about, ‘How do we retrain our workforce?'” LeVine said.

Automation is coming after jobs, from fast food burger flippers to accountants. CBSN examined which jobs are the most at risk:

Some of the jobs on the cutting block include “fast casual cooks” — think McDonald’s and Shake Shack low skilled, low wage employees.

Not too long ago, we reported on one burger chain in California that hired “Flippy”, a robotic kitchen assistant, to cook burgers.

CBSN believes movers, warehouse workers and retail workers including cashiers are also about to get axed because of the introduction of automation. There is also a significant risk that autonomous cars and trucks could disrupt the transportation industry.

To get a glimpse of the coming economic disruption headed to America via the automation tsunami. Deutsche Bank provides a series of visuals (below) indicating the shifting winds created by robots and artificial intelligence.

World robot shipments forecasts by region (DB estimates)

(Source: IFR, Deutsche Securities estimates)

Labour force of More Developed World (MDW) and China (in mln)

(Source: IFR, Deutsche Securities estimates)

Major industrial users of robots

(Source: IFR, Deutsche Securities estimates)

Trade balances in related machinery

(Source: IFR, Deutsche Securities estimates)

And lastly, Deutsche Bank offers a counter-narrative to President Trump’s “Make America Great Again” narrative in the revival of America’s manufacturing industry.

For instance, the bank’s research desk focuses on Nike and other apparel companies that have limited plans on re-shoring their manufacturing facilities in the United States. It is more than likely that these companies will focus on low-wage outsourcing and the introduction of automation, indicating overseas factories will stay put. In a rare case, Adidas recently opened a manufacturing facility in Atlanta, Georgia, however, most of the factory was automated.

“Nike and other apparel companies employ similar types of robotic setups in their factories. Of course, the pursuit of lower manufacturing costs has been a crucial part of textile and footwear manufacturing since at least the industrial revolution.


The nature of cost reduction is changing, though. In the past decade, most cost optimization took the form of geographic relocation as firms moved production to China and then Vietnam as they sought lower-wage workers. But despite the rise in labor costs in these countries, a migration to new lower-wage nations is unlikely.

It is true that a lot of noise has been made about re-shoring to developed countries, particularly the US. Adidas has opened a partially automated factory in Atlanta, while Under Armour has discussed plans to open a manufacturing center in Baltimore.

So far, though, the large apparel groups have not done this en masse. True, Adidas has said it wishes to increase the output of its Speedfactories in Ansbach and Atlanta to 1m pairs of shoes each year by 2020. But this is equivalent to just one day’s requirement.

The ‘real’ investment by Adidas in its Speedfactory programme has already taken place in Vietnam. The world’s largest shoe contract manufacturers have invested over $200m each year recently to automate production lines that produce over 50m pairs of shoes each year. Rival Nike has completed a similar plan with its manufacturing partners. Its automation investment in China and Vietnam has been very fruitful for the company.”

To sum up, the coming jobs apocalypse driven by debt, demographics, and automation could displace tens of millions of bottom-tier jobs. In return, this transition could trigger significant economic disruptions, which could only accelerate into the 2020s. The magnitude of today’s workforce shift is expected to match that of the automation of agriculture from 1900 to 1940. The automation of farming transformed America’s economy and severely disrupted labor markets, ultimately climaxing into the Great Depression and subsequent world war.


takeaction Tue, 06/12/2018 - 19:22 Permalink

We need it..

I pick up lunch all the time for my employees...these losers can rarely get an order right....and they can never make change...they are always looking at the register in an attempt to figure out the correct change to give back.  Absolute idiots....all to be replaced with KIOSKS.  There is your $15 an hour bitchez.  And its gone.


And these people piss and moan about "Living Wage".  People...these are entry level jobs to get early teens into the work force.

THEY ARE NOT TO RAISE A FAMILY ON.  If you work in fast food...and have a family....your choices that you have made in EVERY fork in the road have been WRONG.

Deep Snorkeler Okienomics Tue, 06/12/2018 - 19:28 Permalink

The Robot Horde is Coming

1. natural-biological sex is ending.  Robot sex is here.

2. random airborne drone attacks will become routine

3. workers will become idle, listless, receiving guaranteed annual incomes

4. the deterioration of the human genome accelerates

5. the owners of robot production become immensely wealthy

6. no one will have the skills to do anything

In reply to by Okienomics

brushhog wadalt Tue, 06/12/2018 - 20:39 Permalink

Ever watch "kitchen of the future" shows from the 1950's? They thought within ten years everything in the household would be automated. The stuff they predicted never happened, even now, 70 years later. Same thing with the concept cars they used to make and show off.

In 30 years, people are going to laugh at articles like this, along with all the expectations of "self driving cars" and robots that take everyone's job. Very little of this stuff, if any, is going to happen in any way that impacts the economy to the extent predicted here. Its just human nature to believe this kind of thing.

In reply to by wadalt

ravolla Got The Wrong No Tue, 06/12/2018 - 23:24 Permalink

HELLO SPAM-LOVERS!!!   BIG UP from the SPAMMER BUNKHOUSE here in the Methfilled Valley Trailer Park in Methfilled Valley, PA.  Good to see my men Leakanthrophy and Wadalt and  PrivetHedge  and our newbies  ll951983  and  gzcekkyret  out from under the couch sucking their own dicks and back on the threads SPAMMING like a Grease Fire!!!! 

Biblicism     AND    TodaysFox ("I made $7000 sucking cock on the Internet")  IT's ALL THE SAME SPAMMER!

THIS is an important week here in the SPAMMER's BUNKHOUSE (the leaking moldy single-wide in the trailer park).  This week I (we?) are celebrating SEVEN YEARS here on ZH, obsessively SPAMMING every thread we can with off-topic comments.  You see, there are dozens of "personalities" living in this one single sad SPAMMER's sick little mind, which he calls "Spammer's Bunkhouse."  How sick is that? 

Each of "us" (these innumerable fake log-on's) is represented by an ACTION FIGURE that Master Spammer ("DARWIN" is his name -- can you believe that?)  lines up on his kitchen counter and TALKS TO!!  WHACK JOB!!!


SAD BUT TRUE!!  I (we?) have wasted my (our) youth (or at least the last seven years) with at least one hand in my pants and the other hand SPAMMING ZH.  Yes, indeed.  DOZENS and DOZENS (maybe hundreds) of log-on's banned -- 
>>  "I made $7500 last week on the Internet sucking cock!": that's me.
>>  Biblicism: that's me.
>>  All the porn at Celebrity-leaks: that's me.
>>  Daily Westerner: that's me.

>>  "In the news....SPAMMER broomsticked by furious readers" -- registered in Nigeria) :: that's me TOO!! 

That's our life (all of us living in Master Spammer's Mind): mopping the floor at the Porn Cinema at 2am, working the French Frier at SONIC (demoted from the drive-thru window 'cuz my ZIT-covered face scared the customers), sucking cock on the Internet, and spamming ZH with an enormous Excel spreadsheet of the log-on's of dozens of "digital friends" who upvote one another and virtually suck my little micro penis..

MEET my current imaginary friends.  We all live in one SPAMMER's HEAD (and as ACTION FIGURES on his kitchen counter) but as for me, I have gone off the reservation.  These other "personalities" are pretty troubled.

ll951983  <<< NEWBIE  sucks cock on the Internet!
  <<<  NEWBIE
Cheoll   <<<  NEWBIE

Mr Hankey  [R.I.P]   <<<  total utter WHACK JOB  -- joined "The Fallen"
gzcekkyret     <<<  NEWBIE

You know SPAMMERS never die on ZH -- here's just a sampling of the banned log-on's ("The Fallen Spammers") ---

 beepbop, pier, lloll, loebster, ergatz, armada, Mtnrunnr, Anonymous, luky luke, Cjgipper, winged, moimeme, macki mack, tchubby, sincerely_yours, HillaryOdor, winged, lexxus, kavlar, lhomme, letsit, tazs, techies-r-us, stizazz, lock-stock, beauticelli, Mano-A-Mano, mofio, santafe, Aristotle of Greece, Gargoyle, bleu, oops, lance-a-lot, Loftie, toro, Yippee Kiyay, lonnng, Nekoti, SumTing Wong, King Tut, evoila, rp2016, alt right dude, altright-girl, alt-right girl, Blufin, Schlomo Scheklestein, BraveForce, Mr Hankey, sandraloopz0, enf83

In reply to by Got The Wrong No

Stuck on Zero wadalt Tue, 06/12/2018 - 20:47 Permalink

Anyone who knows anything about economics knows that if machines replace humans in ten key industries that the value of those products in the economy falls and therefore more lucrative opportunities open up elsewhere. In the early 1900s the tractor and fractional horsepower electric motor replaced 80% of all jobs. Was it a catastrophe or did the economy adapt.

In reply to by wadalt

AGuy Deep Snorkeler Tue, 06/12/2018 - 20:45 Permalink

"Robots will design, build and maintain robots "
Nada, not going to happen in the forseeable future.

Most of the low-skill jobs will take a while for automation to replace them. Stores\resturants would have to be completely remodeled to support robots that bus tables, clean floors, etc. Much like McDonalds remodeling for the Kiosks (only considerable more costly).

Automation will target the low hanging fruit (like McD's Kiosks) and information type jobs. We'll see a lot of back-office jobs go before Janitors, Cooks, and Truck drivers get automated. Back-office jobs: Accounting, Sales, Marketing, Legal, HR, IT, etc.

In reply to by Deep Snorkeler

tmosley Tarzan Tue, 06/12/2018 - 19:38 Permalink

That is the smart question though.

We do jobs so we can buy specialized human labor in the form of goods and services. Money is a claim on human labor. The more automation goes into a product, the less labor it takes to buy it. For example, in the Victorian Era, a man might work a half a day in the field in order to afford a single loaf of bread. Today, a minimum wage moron can buy that same loaf with just a few minutes of labor.

Goods that go beyond a certain threshold of automation become free. For example, content is served almost entirely automatically on the internet, hence, almost all content is free. Those things that are paid for generally go by the freemium model, where a few people buying special services pay for the entire service.

In reply to by Tarzan

Tarzan tmosley Tue, 06/12/2018 - 20:05 Permalink

So what they're saying is, we won't need to import Mexicans in the future! 

I love Mexicans by the way ; )

It seems to me we're getting a double message here. 

On one hand, the Western Oligarchs are desperate to import cheap labor, on the other, Robots are creating a job apocalypse.

I think in the future we should make better use of lamp posts!

In reply to by tmosley

BlindMonkey Tarzan Tue, 06/12/2018 - 19:50 Permalink

I sell software that is "no-code".


I got guys that have no coding experience building ERP apps because the tool is so good.  I'm able to hire people that don't have to have tons of experience so may scaling factor is totally different than a shop building C, Java, etc.  So not only is it faster it is cheaper and I'm not competing against coding shops with deeper pockets to get labor.  


So yes.  Robots will build robots and this is the push for the minimum living wage movement.  TPTB are thinking ahead.  

In reply to by Tarzan

GeezerGeek Tarzan Tue, 06/12/2018 - 21:47 Permalink

That leads to this question: why do we need people?

The answer, according to certain elitists, is that we don't and need to reduce the human population to a small fraction of what it is now. Then they can turn the world into a huge Eden-like park, and it will be maintained by robots. It sounds idyllic, but I'd wager the time it would stay that way would be short: human depravity spoils everything as quickly as it can.

In reply to by Tarzan

GeezerGeek hoist the bs flag Tue, 06/12/2018 - 21:53 Permalink

ZH is mostly light entertainment and a place to blow off steam. Please don't tell me you ever took it as a serious source of information once it went beyond its early financial commentary.

If all you can do is exhibit your hatred for Luddites and people who reject secular humanism you are free to leave. I, for one, will not miss you. And take your anti-Christian bias with you.

In reply to by hoist the bs flag

Sonny Brakes Okienomics Tue, 06/12/2018 - 19:47 Permalink

I'd like to get access to those job openings you refer to; I have yet to see any of them. All I hear is the MSM yelping that employers are having difficulty finding workers; these job openings don't exist and they never will, unless you're already connected to the employer through a familial connection. The second point, people won't be considered for a job unless they're already employed in a job. Third point, the wages and conditions of employment being offered don't cover the cost of holding a job.

In reply to by Okienomics

JohnG Sonny Brakes Tue, 06/12/2018 - 19:57 Permalink

They are counting "openings" cross posted on any of about 50 job sites as individual openings, and even a lot of those are recruiters cherry picking resumes for egg laying milk pig applicants.

I've seen a lot of computer related listings requiring more years experience in some obscure tool that has been around for a's just bullshit.

In reply to by Sonny Brakes

Ms No JohnG Tue, 06/12/2018 - 20:16 Permalink

I looked into robotics training a few years back.  They wanted a gazillion dollars per year, a verified rocket scientist by 22, O negative blood type and half a decade to throw away to do it.

I'm buying draft horses, blacksmithing equipment and radiation resistant cricket farms instead...  I am betting this bitch collapses so bad that terminator will be a long forgotten version of magical thinking.  We will be lucky if we have radio in a few years.

In reply to by JohnG

GeezerGeek JohnG Tue, 06/12/2018 - 22:00 Permalink

After 40 years in IT (it was called EDP when I started) I can verify that job listings have included obscure knowledge since forever. If nothing else, it allowed employers to filter out undesirables who otherwise would have been perfectly acceptable on technical knowledge alone. That may have changed in the last decade or so as HR has taken greater control of the hiring process and enforcing diversity and affirmative action quotas.

In reply to by JohnG

tmosley Shocker Tue, 06/12/2018 - 19:32 Permalink

Why be employed when you can be rich instead?

Mass automation of jobs is wealth creation on a scale beyond anything we have ever seen before.

You might complain about how all the wealth will be concentrated at the top, but I am a lot more interested in owning a domestic robot that can build more robots.

In reply to by Shocker

TheRunningMan Shocker Tue, 06/12/2018 - 20:38 Permalink

That is the nature of competition and survival of the fittest...or smartest...or most creative.  Well, I suppose we could keep paying uneducated miscreants with face tattoos too much to do jobs that no one wants to do...that no "one" is needed to do today.

In reply to by Shocker

shining one Shocker Wed, 06/13/2018 - 06:52 Permalink

There are 95 MILLION Americans NOT working, add this 75 MILLION, if bad trends continue the same as they have been by 2030 you are looking at over two thirds of the entire population NOT working. Let that sink in.

In reply to by Shocker

ThuleNord Tue, 06/12/2018 - 19:23 Permalink

Those millions of immigrants were never ever brought here to fill jobs.  And (((They))) knew that full well.


Are you mad yet? You should be furious.  They were brought solely to destroy you and your children’s future

Silver Savior Tue, 06/12/2018 - 19:27 Permalink

Last night I was watching how they bottle coca cola and there was like only one worker in the whole place. This is the kind of shit that totally pisses me off. 

So in order to buy a bottle the money has to come from elsewhere because they are too cheap to hire anyone. This is the total opposite of Henry Ford reasoning about paying a living wage so the workers could actually buy the product.

There aren't even any fucking workers anymore. They had to go and automate everything. The only job I saw was threading an aluminum coil into a machine to make cans.

We are screwed!