(Image courtesy of CalMatters)

INTRODUCTION

Are robots coming for California’s jobs?

In today’s increasingly automated economy, that’s certainly the fear. Technology has always generated economic churn, destroying some jobs and creating others. Already advances have generated a whole new sector of “gig” employment, and deeply disrupted other workplaces, from brick-and-mortar bookstores to newspapers to travel agencies.

Over the next decade, jobs mostly held by the working poor appear to be most at risk of displacement: food services, manufacturing, transportation and warehousing, agriculture and retail. The least likely to be automated by 2030? Professional, management and educational services, and jobs in health care and social assistance.

State leaders fear that, if something isn’t done before the next wave of automation, what’s left will be “f-ing feudalism,” to borrow one politician’s expletive. Gov. Gavin Newsom wants to figure out how to make future jobs pay well. A key question his Future of Work Commission is asking: What role should organized labor have?

Felicia Mello contributed to this explainer.

CalMatters.org is a nonprofit, nonpartisan media venture explaining California policies and politics.

Judy Lin

CALmatters