2016 August 27 Saturday
Hourly Worker Hours Becoming Less Predictable

Not knowing how much they'll work or how much they'll make.

Around 13 percent of hourly workers in 2001 and 2004 reported an "irregular schedule," for example. After 2009, that number increased to more than 15 percent. The proportion of workers who reported "varying hours" jumped to 29 percent after the recession, from 21 percent before.

The workplace future of the cognitively less able looks quite grim. What's the fate of college drop-outs 20 years from now? They won't drive delivery trucks, long haul trucks, garbage trucks, or taxis. They won't drive farm tractors or pick fruits and vegetables. They won't work in factories. They probably won't work in fast food restaurants. I'm doubtful that they'll work even in Wal-Mart (humans would need to still shop there and the shelves would need to be stocked by humans).

So what jobs will still exist for high school drop-outs 20 years from now? Housing construction? Suppose full home construction isn't automated until 30 years from now. High school drop-outs could work in housing construction. But there'll be too many o them available to get them all jobs building houses or roads.

I think manual laborers face the same fate as horses of 100 years ago: no longer needed by the economy.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2016 August 27 10:35 AM 

another fred said at September 1, 2016 7:06 AM:

I think this is far more serious than most people do. The probability of plagues getting loose amongst us is rising, especially man-made ones, and the allotment of medicines and care will be a major issue when they do. People who contribute nothing to the maintenance of society will not be high on the list when the decisions are made. Quarantines will be hard to maintain.

As a recent Foreign Policy article said, "...a new era of synthetic biology could make the dangers of the nuclear age seem quaint."

Seth W. said at September 5, 2016 2:41 PM:

Great. That means humans will have a better quality of life. We just have to make wage earning more attractive and studying more equally accessible to everybody.

aandrews said at September 16, 2016 6:23 PM:


Drag the slider to 35:30.

An interesting perspective from what sounds like a salty old dog. I think he's absolutely correct. I know an electrician whose killing it.

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