Study: More than half of Cook County jobs could be lost to automation

By Alexia Elejalde-Ruiz, for Chicago Tribune

Jul 12, 2017

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A white paper released Tuesday by Ball State University in Muncie, Ind., measured county vulnerability to job loss from offshoring and automation, based on the types of occupations that previous studies have shown to be particularly at risk and how prevalent those jobs are in the counties.

Automation poses a far greater risk to American jobs than offshoring and has a disproportionately harsh impact on poorer, rural communities. While the risk of losing one's job to trade pressures or overseas labor competition is spread evenly across income and education, the risk of being replaced by automation is highest among people making less than $38,000 a year.

Big urban centers with a broad mix of jobs are poised to weather the labor market storm better than small rural communities. For example, in Cook County, 54.5 percent of jobs are at risk of being lost to automation, and 28.7 percent to offshoring, while in Alexander County at the southern tip of the state — among several counties along the Ohio River substantially reliant on factories — 62 percent of jobs risk being replaced by automation and 26.9 percent lost to offshoring.

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