Automation may be improving production capabilities in America, but it’s also killing jobs for working-class Americans.
Some 15 percent of 25 to 54-year-old American men are out of work in 2017, a 10 percent increase from 1968, Axios reported Sunday. The problem appears to be uniquely American, as the U.S. lags behind nearly every country in Western Europe.
To put that figure in context, if the participation rate for males in that age group were at 2001 levels, there would be millions of more workers in the economy. In turn, that would mean more income for more American families and more federal revenue for the U.S. government.
“I suspect that if current trends continue, we may have a third of men between ages of 25 and 54 not working by the end of this half century because this is a trend that shows no signs of decelerating,” former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers told Axios.
Summers also warned that his predictions also come before we’ve seen innovations that will likely exacerbate the problem come to market, like self-driving cars.
The U.S. economy notched a 16-year low unemployment rate in May of 4.3 percent, down nearly 6 percent from the peak of the Great Recession. Despite the good news regarding the unemployment rate, U.S. job growth slowed in May and total employment gains were below those of April and March.
Lawmakers are consistently worried about how to create a better economic environment for as many Americans as possible. Members of Congress float a litany of policy solutions, like lower taxes and less regulation, they believe would foster a more efficient, robust economy.
Recent evidence suggests automation will continue to rev up in the near future, leaving policymakers in a tough position.
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