The mass disruption of the workplace because of the pandemic is accelerating employers’ move toward job-displacing automation, and neither the government nor the American labor force is prepared for the sweeping fallout.
The hemorrhaging of jobs is refueling a national debate over how to give workers the skills to survive the brutal market and fill the millions of positions that automation will inevitably also create — albeit at a far slower pace than positions are being shed. Lawmakers, labor unions and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce are all calling for more spending on workforce training. The employment and training programs now available — there are no fewer than 43 spread across the government — are inadequate, uncoordinated and underfunded, they say.
I’ve been saying this since the pandemic started. Business have learned to live without workers. Individual worker productivity has soared while business have cut non-essentials. We’re not ready for a post-jobs economy by any stretch. The ones with the fewest social benefits will be hurt the most.