That’s not lost on automakers in Japan, South Korea, Germany, and China: They’re also heavily investing in robots.
If President Trump succeeds in bringing auto jobs back to the United States, they won’t be the same routine, repetitive tasks assembly line workers had in the past. These new jobs will require knowledge of computer-aided design, hydraulics, and other complex engineering issues.
The same goes for the service sector, like retail, hotels and restaurants, and warehousing. A staggering 94 percent of CEOs using robots say they’ve increased productivity. The end result: fewer jobs for unskilled workers, though in all likelihood more jobs overall as the economy grows, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers.
The new jobs will likely pay more but demand more skills. So it’s urgent for workers and young people to get the skills needed for tomorrow’s work environment.
Left-wingers like Bernie Sanders are calling for “free” college at taxpayers’ expense, and Gov. Cuomo just delivered a version of it. But college is no cure-all, especially not if you major in film and gender studies and shun courses that would give you work skills.
Message to politicians: Focus on workplace readiness. It beats trying to block technological progress — a vain attempt to protect yesterday’s jobs. Instead of signing the Pacific Railroad Act of 1862, should President Lincoln have opposed the Transcontinental Railroad to protect the jobs of stage coach drivers?
When banks introduced ATMs, tellers panicked. But ATMs increased profits, banks expanded and actually hired more tellers (2 percent more a year since 2000) to do more complex tasks, as Gabriel Horwitz of the centrist Third Way think tank explains.
The economy thrives when businesses, not politicians, call the shots on technology. Embracing robots will create more goods and services, a bigger pie for all to share. Skills training will help everyone get a piece of the pie.
Betsy McCaughey is a senior fellow at the London Center for Policy Research.