Robots vs the middle class: everyone's endangered, white people less so

On Common Dreams, Paul Buchheit rounds up a ton of scholarly/economic papers on the ways that automation is coming to employment niches occupied by well-educated middle-class professionals, who face the same dilemma their "low-skilled" industrial colleagues have been living through for three decades and counting.

The most important takeaway is that lower-middle-class jobs are more threatened than the high-middle jobs ("Java application developer, internet security specialist, nurse practitioner, dental hygienist, statistical analyst, data mining specialist, physical therapist"), and that the high-middle is more likely to be occupied by the people who've historically sat atop the economic pyramid (white people) while the low-middle tier is occupied by people from traditionally underpaid groups (brown people, women).

The living-wage middle-class jobs added in recent years primarily benefit of people with experience, people with education and connections, people who are male and white. Many of them became Trump supporters. Black workers, including those with education and experience, have been disproportionately hurt by the cutbacks in federal, state, and local government, which had employed one out of five black adults.

Now middle-class jobs are indeed appearing in contractor and construction and carpentry and managerial positions, but getting a job is a job in itself. In New York City, for example, jobseekers waited eight days for a chance to apply for a carpentry apprenticeship. Black applicants face ugly forms of discrimination: studies show that white men with criminal records are more likely to get a callback than blacks without a criminal record. And that applicants with white-sounding names are 50% more likely to get a callback than those with black-sounding names.

What the Robots Are Doing to the Middle Class [Paul Buchheit/Common Dreams]

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