Emerging Tech Divides Workforce

Technology is spreading throughout the workforce, leaving many people without jobs.

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Companies are adopting emerging  technologies wildly throughout the industry, but for Arizona, it is hard to ignore how much it is growing.

Intel's $7 billion chip plant is going up in Chandler and Axon is bringing talent from Silicon Valley to Scottsdale to keep up with growing demand. Meanwhile, startups are also flocking to the area as well, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. 

Even though innovation is taking place throughout the state, the vast majority jobs are still in workaday service industries, such as health care, hospitality, retail and building services. 

Automation is changing the nature of work, eliminating workers without a college degree out of productive industries like manufacturing and high-tech services, and into tasks with low wages and limited professional development, the Chronicle reports. Emerging tech has divided the work force into two sides: high educated professionals at big name companies like Intel, and those who have less education and are stuck at low paying businesses. Economists have started reassessing their belief that technological progress is beneficial.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports that recent research has concluded that robots are reducing the demand for workers and weighing down wages. Some economists have suggested that automation is partially to blame for the decline in the share of national income going into workers paychecks over the last three decades. 

Technology brings big profits to the industry and the area it is located, but it does not generate many jobs. In 2017, the semiconductor and related devices industry employed 16,000 people in the Phoenix area, around 10,000 fewer than 30 years ago, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Those residing in the area have to look at service jobs that employed nearly 35,000 people in 2017. Jobs in health care, social assistance, accommodation, food services, building administration and waste services are difficult to automate, and employers have little financial incentive to replace low-wage workers.

Meanwhile, jobs in industries like finance, manufacturing, information services and wholesale trade have also shrunk, leaving economists confused as technology was supposed to bring better jobs and higher pay. 

A study found that over the last 40 years jobs have fallen in every industry that had technology introduced to enhance productivity. The report suggests that the only reason employment didn't fall across the entire economy is because other industries picked up the slack, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.