In addition to outsourcing jobs oversea where operation cost is lower, the proliferation of technologies for automation is another way of cost cutting for businesses. As these technological advances become cheaper and easier to implement, we have witnessed more jobs removed from human hands.
You probably know fewer loom operators than you would have 100 years ago.
Mail carrier Mike Gillis delivering mail in 2011, in Montpelier, Vt., and right, Microsoft Outlook being demonstrated on a desktop computer in 2013, in New York. The number of “mail carriers” in the U.S. fell 10 percent from 358,000 to 321,000 in ten years through 2010.
Telephone Switchboard Operators:
The General Services Administration telephone switchboard and its operators in 1951, and right, Siri, Apple’s virtual assistant, on the Apple iPhone 4S in 2011, in San Francisco. The number of switchboard and telephone operators in the U.S. fell from 182,000 to 73,000 in 10 years through 2010 because of new technology.
A train conductor in 2011, in New Brunswick, N.J., and right, Tokyo’s Yurikamome Line that runs without any drivers or conductors along Tokyo Bay, in 2013. Katsuya Hagane, the manager in charge of operations at New Transit Yurikamome, with just 60 regular employees, says the automated system helps keeps hiring down.
Assembly Line Worker:
A worker, left, assembling a motor in a Mercedes Benz factory in 2008 in Berlin, and a robot, right, painting a brake drum at Webb Wheel Products, in 2013, in Cullman, Ala.. Thanks to robots, Webb Wheel hasn’t added a factory worker in over three years, though it’s making 300,000 more drums annually, a 25 percent increase.
Toll collector Anthony Morris working a booth at the Rip Van Winkle Bridge in Catskill, N.Y., in 2012, and, right, Manisha Padhye holding up an E-Z Pass in 2009, in Broadview Heights, Ohio. Many middle-class workers have lost jobs because powerful software and computerized machines are doing tasks that only humans could do before.
Steven Herman, left, head of the Library of Congress storage facility, at the Library of Congress in 2003, in Washington, and left, a “bookBot”, an automated retrieval system at the James B. Hunt Jr. Library at North Carolina State University in 2013, in Raleigh, N.C. Many middle-class workers have lost jobs because powerful software and computerized machines are doing tasks that only humans could do before.
Travel agent, Gabriele Herlitschka leafing through an Asia and Australia travel catalogue in her travel agency office in 2002, in Duesseldorf, Germany, and right, Expedia worker Mike Brown in an alcove set up for employees in 2013, in Bellevue, Wash. The number travel agents fell 46 percent from 142,000 to 76,000 in ten years through 2010.