Automation has become one of the major ongoing stories regarding the future of the American economy. What began with the rise of robots—and loss of jobs—across manufacturing industries is now a full blown threat to traditional jobs across all industries, salary bands, and education requirements. The effects are wide-reaching, no job may be safe.
On the surface, trucking seems to fit perfectly into this national narrative. Autonomous vehicles are one of the hottest developments in technology across the country, and an automated truck already delivered 50,000 cans of beer within Colorado last fall. Meanwhile, truckers hold the most common occupation in 29 different states. This map quickly spread around the internet. Unsurprisingly, analysts expect automated trucks to proliferate in the next five to ten years, leading to significant job losses in the process.
The only problem? The numbers do not clearly back up the predictions.
In addition to the numerous regulatory and logistical hurdles that automated trucks still need to clear, generalizing the skilled work undertaken by millions of truck drivers and their peers overlooks how this industry functions. In many ways, the current national conversation on the trucking industry tends to overemphasize the technology and oversimplify the complex set of labor concerns, where many jobs are not likely to disappear anytime soon.
Chosen excerpts by Job Market Monitor. Read the whole story at Automated trucking’s rapid rise overlooks the need for skilled labor | Brookings Institution