The disappearing cashier. And why Michigan should worry.

robot

The automation of labor is silently wiping out thousands of existing jobs across Michigan ‒ and it’s poised to grow.

Is your job ripe for a robot?

Check out these occupations to see how susceptible they may be to automation. Type any portion of the job in the 'search' box. The automation probability is based on research by two United Kingdom researchers; Michigan median wage and job count numbers are from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics. Most of the highest paying jobs are unlikely to be automated but require a high degree of education. Many of those most likely to be automated require far less education and pay far less as well.

Occupation Automation probabiity Median annual wages Jobs, 2016
Audiologists 0.3 $71,157 410
Mental health and substance abuse social workers 0.3 $47,632 3,730
Emergency management directors 0.3 $62,317 140
First-line supervisors of mechanics, installers 0.3 $62,795 14,230
Recreational therapists 0.3 $49,733 600
Physicians and surgeons, all other 0.4 $186,264 13,520
Family and general practitioners 0.4 $172,557 4,520
Social workers, all other 0.4 $65,166 780
Psychiatrists 0.4 $174,554 650
Dentists, general 0.4 $168,709 4,000
First-line supervisors of police and detectives 0.4 $77,147 2,450
Psychologists, all other 0.4 $92,872 270
Instructional coordinators 0.4 $65,042 4,330
Sales engineers 0.4 $97,198 2,550
Choreographers 0.4 $35,901 170
Lodging managers 0.4 $39,166 1,100
Dietitians and nutritionists 0.4 $55,744 1,760
First-line supervisors of fire fighting and prevention 0.4 $62,442 910
Healthcare social workers 0.4 $53,706 6,070
Occupational therapists 0.4 $73,549 4,810
Orthotists and prosthetists 0.4 $62,546 460
Fabric and apparel patternmakers 0.5 $34,486 30
Mental health counselors 0.5 $46,384 2,580
Clinical, counseling, and school psychologists 0.5 $70,928 2,750
Podiatrists 0.5 $113,734 450
Medical scientists, except epidemiologists 0.5 $58,219 2,790
Speech-language pathologists 0.6 $73,632 3,130
Training and development managers 0.6 $101,754 680
Recreation workers 0.6 $21,757 11,160
Human resources managers 0.6 $96,346 3,770
Set and exhibit designers 0.6 $49,275 100
Information security analysts 0.7 $88,026 1,970
Preschool teachers, except special education 0.7 $27,685 7,740
Medical and health services managers 0.7 $92,477 10,980
Curators 0.7 $45,885 290
Social and community service managers 0.7 $68,494 4,620
Computer systems analysts 0.7 $84,802 15,250
Foresters 0.8 $63,045 310
Clergy 0.8 $40,290 2,460
Anthropologists and archeologists 0.8 $66,706 20
Registered nurses 0.9 $67,454 92,670
Nurse practitioners 0.9 $97,219 3,520
Rehabilitation counselors 0.9 $36,795 2,700
Educational, guidance, school, and vocational counselors 0.9 $50,898 5,800
Education administrators, postsecondary 1 $91,250 5,000
Forensic science technicians 1 $73,986 270
Mechanical engineers 1.1 $86,549 42,080
Logisticians 1.2 $79,144 7,500
Microbiologists 1.2 $58,635 330
Pharmacists 1.2 $118,789 9,050
Sales managers 1.3 $121,410 10,090
Marketing managers 1.4 $115,918 3,870
Training and development specialists 1.4 $57,034 5,370
Engineers, all other 1.4 $88,962 7,410
Hydrologists 1.4 $80,267 90
Marriage and family therapists 1.4 $42,952 320
First-line supervisors of office and administrative 1.4 $52,666 32,410
Fundraisers 1.5 $55,037 2,050
Chief executives 1.5 $160,160 6,260
Public relations and fundraising managers 1.5 $99,070 1,300
Education admin., preschool & childcare center 1.5 $44,262 1,140
Computer and information research scientists 1.5 $97,968 380
Biological scientists, all other 1.5 $79,477 250
Multimedia artists and animators 1.5 $54,080 460
Music directors and composers 1.5 $50,586 730
Conservation scientists 1.6 $64,459 290
Securities, commodities, and financial services sales 1.6 $54,725 6,750
First-line supervisors of production and operating 1.6 $59,550 27,320
Architectural and engineering managers 1.7 $122,325 10,090
Aerospace engineers 1.7 $89,669 1,330
Chemical engineers 1.7 $93,787 670
Architects, except landscape and naval 1.8 $70,138 2,130
Environmental engineers 1.8 $85,446 1,490
Physical therapist assistants 1.8 $48,651 3,960
Civil engineers 1.9 $73,653 7,590
Health diagnosing & treating practitioners, other 2 $65,707 520
Materials engineers 2.1 $74,630 1,300
Soil and plant scientists 2.1 $51,667 330
Materials scientists 2.1 $92,248 370
Fashion designers 2.1 $52,333 210
Photographers 2.1 $36,171 1,340
Physical therapists 2.1 $83,845 8,300
Interior designers 2.2 $44,554 1,480
Producers and directors 2.2 $56,992 2,180
Art directors 2.3 $77,854 1,070
Orthodontists 2.3 $170,165 90
Electronics engineers, except computer 2.5 $86,486 3,030
Directors, religious activities and education 2.5 $30,597 1,730
First-line supervisors of correctional officers 2.5 $61,693 1,030
Biochemists and biophysicists 2.7 $75,504 550
Chiropractors 2.7 $61,693 1,440
Health and safety engineers, except mining safety 2.8 $89,835 690
Child, family, and school social workers 2.8 $46,904 13,490
Occupational therapy assistants 2.8 $51,043 1,140
Industrial engineers 2.9 $85,176 26,660
Veterinary technologists and technicians 2.9 $32,240 3,000
First-line supervisors of trans. & material-moving 2.9 $51,688 4,700
Industrial production managers 3 $108,056 10,410
Purchasing managers 3 $99,424 2,640
Database administrators 3 $85,488 2,680
Network and computer systems administrators 3 $72,925 8,450
Industrial engineering technicians 3 $48,318 4,790
Vocational education teachers, postsecondary 3.2 $40,352 3,130
Environmental scientists and specialists, includin 3.3 $66,206 2,140
Substance abuse & behavioral disorder counselors 3.3 $36,566 1,840
Computer and information systems managers 3.5 $116,834 8,730
Operations research analysts 3.5 $82,576 1,580
Lawyers 3.5 $95,846 14,850
Meeting, convention, and event planners 3.7 $43,347 2,070
Biomedical engineers 3.7 $77,896 220
Commercial and industrial designers 3.7 $80,746 6,600
Writers and authors 3.8 $57,158 730
Veterinarians 3.8 $80,038 2,080
Advertising and promotions managers 3.9 $87,672 650
Political scientists 3.9 $86,278 30
Credit counselors 4 $44,262 890
Social scientists and related workers, all other 4 $66,581 440
Software developers, applications 4.2 $82,763 20,090
Fine artists, including painters, sculptors, and illustrators 4.2 $45,885 350
Psychiatric technicians 4.3 $41,413 1,140
Landscape architects 4.5 $62,629 490
Health educators 4.5 $51,958 1,310
Farmers, ranchers & other ag. managers 4.7 $65,250 60
Floral designers 4.7 $25,334 1,160
Emergency medical technicians and paramedics 4.9 $29,806 6,580
Editors 5.5 $49,296 1,510
Licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses 5.8 $46,509 14,980
Sociologists 5.9 $69,493 70
Arbitrators, mediators, and conciliators 6 $68,515 300
Animal scientists 6.1 $54,954 190
Residential advisors 6.4 $25,126 2,060
Respiratory therapists 6.6 $55,640 4,120
Aircraft cargo handling supervisors 6.6 $43,930 190
Financial managers 6.9 $105,123 13,670
Construction managers 7.1 $84,698 3,900
Musicians and singers 7.4 $33,925 1,490
First-line supervisors of non-retail sales workers 7.5 $67,912 6,850
First-line supervisors of personal service workers 7.6 $33,654 5,820
Compliance officers 8 $66,810 5,640
Fish and game wardens 8 $61,630 190
Graphic designers 8.2 $45,011 5,830
Food service managers 8.3 $52,021 5,170
Childcare workers 8.4 $20,197 16,900
Fitness trainers and aerobics instructors 8.5 $29,765 5,400
Gaming managers 9.1 $77,022 320
Electrical power-line installers and repairers 9.7 $75,254 4,680
Police and sheriffs patrol officers 9.8 $58,843 16,100
Travel agents 9.9 $30,035 1,930
Electrical engineers 10 $85,966 9,780
Physicists 10 $92,643 410
Chemists 10 $75,774 2,920
Radio and television announcers 10 $30,264 760
Respiratory therapy technicians 10 $41,142 160
Chefs and head cooks 10 $43,909 2,930
Animal trainers 10 $23,192 350
Reporters and correspondents 11 $37,086 1,350
Hairdressers, hairstylists, and cosmetologists 11 $24,357 10,840
Air traffic controllers 11 $106,184 370
Software developers, systems software 13 $84,302 12,040
Urban and regional planners 13 $59,925 670
Social and human service assistants 13 $26,874 9,480
Self-enrichment education teachers 13 $29,474 5,590
Sound engineering technicians 13 $52,978 130
Nuclear medicine technologists 13 $67,954 710
Dietetic technicians 13 $25,750 1,060
Mining and geological engineers, including mining 14 $87,339 50
Optometrists 14 $103,917 1,240
Physician assistants 14 $98,675 4,550
Electricians 15 $58,074 20,370
General and operations managers 16 $98,592 58,040
Petroleum engineers 16 $112,237 130
Desktop publishers 16 $40,290 560
Financial examiners 17 $67,683 690
Occupational health and safety specialists 17 $70,325 1,670
Firefighters 17 $43,659 5,600
Supervisors of construction and extraction workers 17 $60,798 11,290
Public relations specialists 18 $54,829 5,290
Commercial divers 18 $50,710 200
Adult basic and secondary education and literacy teachers and instructors 19 $47,029 1,170
Epidemiologists 20 $70,637 150
Web developers 21 $61,506 2,630
Computer network architects 21 $104,083 2,520
Actuaries 21 $83,699 420
Animal control workers 21 $37,606 250
Concierges 21 $23,442 460
Computer occupations, all other 22 $74,651 6,960
Computer network support specialists 22 $57,158 5,710
Statisticians 22 $87,277 660
Radiologic technologists 23 $52,686 6,440
Magnetic resonance imaging technologists 23 $61,048 1,650
Business operations specialists, all other 23 $61,235 26,280
Financial analysts 23 $75,837 5,800
Survey researchers 23 $62,774 400
Cardiovascular technologists and technicians 23 $54,850 2,100
Agents & business mgr., artists, performers, athletes 24 $56,285 250
Engineering technicians, except drafters, all others 24 $58,739 2,300
Managers, all other 25 $92,331 8,140
Environmental engineering technicians 25 $46,010 250
Geographers 25 $62,026 20
Probation officers and correctional treatment spec 25 $61,693 2,630
Occupational health and safety technicians 25 $43,035 230
Sales rep., wholesale & manufacturing, technical & scientific projects 25 $77,896 9,070
Ambulance drivers and attendants, except emergency 25 $24,253 400
Occupational therapy aides 27 $30,659 60
Medical equipment repairers 27 $41,933 1,750
Captains, mates, and pilots of water vessels 27 $54,642 220
Gaming supervisors 28 $47,195 1,070
First-line supervisors of retail sales workers 28 $38,688 34,670
Wholesale and retail buyers, except farm products 29 $46,654 2,060
Skincare specialists 29 $25,771 1,010
Zoologists and wildlife biologists 30 $66,706 250
Biological technicians 30 $36,213 1,110
Medical assistants 30 $29,848 22,300
Labor relations specialists 31 $62,795 4,240
Film and video editors 31 $44,179 510
Private detectives and investigators 31 $44,970 310
Financial specialists, all other 33 $62,462 4,890
Radiation therapists 34 $73,570 420
Surgical technologists 34 $43,347 3,500
Detectives and criminal investigators 34 $80,205 1,840
Diagnostic medical sonographers 35 $60,798 2,430
Plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters 35 $63,606 11,870
Bailiffs 36 $40,019 590
Telecommunications equipment installers & repairer 36 $52,541 5,960
Computer numerically controlled machine tool programer 36 $48,963 2,130
Actors 37 $25,563 350
Funeral attendants 37 $24,710 1,420
Helpers--extraction workers 37 $27,747 60
Furnace, kiln, oven, drier, and kettle operators and tenders 37 $42,266 620
Cleaners of vehicles and equipment 37 $20,093 9,010
Surveyors 38 $52,187 1,210
Mechanical engineering technicians 38 $56,763 4,560
Interpreters and translators 38 $43,222 1,040
Electrical and electronics repairers, powerhouse, 38 $76,586 1,180
Packers and packagers, hand 38 $21,403 24,600
Audio-visual & multimedia collections specialists 39 $36,899 120
Home health aides 39 $21,237 30,420
Gaming cage workers 39 $26,562 590
Elevator installers and repairers 39 $75,234 310
Upholsterers 39 $28,475 480
Health technologists and technicians, all other 40 $37,898 3,210
Mobile heavy equipment mechanics, except engines 40 $47,882 2,540
Graders and sorters, agricultural products 41 $19,261 650
Electrical and electronics repairers, commercial a 41 $54,101 1,550
Structural metal fabricators and fitters 41 $36,171 3,530
Forest and conservation technicians 42 $32,323 310
First-line supervisors of helpers, laborers, and material movers, hand 42 $48,984 5,260
Physical scientists, all other 43 $61,339 1,550
Economists 43 $74,381 270
Locker room, coatroom and dressing room attendants 43 $19,282 570
Historians 44 $60,653 40
Medical appliance technicians 45 $43,576 140
Court, municipal, and license clerks 46 $39,312 6,330
Ophthalmic medical technicians 47 $34,986 1,420
Compensation, benefits & job analysis specialists 47 $58,427 1,620
Medical and clinical laboratory technicians 47 $31,845 6,390
Psychiatric aides 47 $28,246 2,600
Computer programmers 48 $71,760 3,730
Aerospace engineering and operations technicians 48 $56,930 60
Merchandise displayers and window trimmers 48 $23,816 5,020
Fire inspectors and investigators 48 $67,974 220
Agricultural engineers 49 $77,022 10
Crossing guards 49 $21,902 1,290
Police, fire, and ambulance dispatchers 49 $40,872 2,070
Telecommunications line installers and repairers 49 $44,886 960
Installation, maintenance & repair workers, other 50 $43,014 2,700
Court reporters 50 $43,077 880
Dental assistants 51 $35,714 9,480
Demonstrators and product promoters 51 $23,650 1,630
Architectural and civil drafters 52 $45,198 1,860
Shoe and leather workers and repairers 52 $26,270 110
Hazardous materials removal workers 53 $45,011 970
Rotary drill operators, oil and gas 53 $42,910 80
Massage therapists 54 $40,685 2,230
Slot supervisors 54 $34,986 640
Embalmers 54 $36,296 40
Advertising sales agents 54 $40,290 4,140
Continuous mining machine operators 54 $43,243 150
Audio and video equipment technicians 55 $44,595 1,560
Customer service representatives 55 $31,866 89,370
Cost estimators 57 $59,218 6,480
Chemical technicians 57 $44,075 2,240
Supervisors of landscaping, lawn service & grounds 57 $43,285 3,440
First-line supervisors of farming, fishing, and forestry workers 57 $38,459 350
Helpers--pipelayers, plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters 57 $27,082 670
Personal financial advisors 58 $70,366 4,580
Trans., storage, and distribution managers 59 $97,302 2,390
Museum technicians and conservators 59 $35,027 160
Automotive service technicians and mechanics 59 $37,045 20,800
Recreational vehicle service technicians 59 $36,899 400
Millwrights 59 $68,931 2,910
Camera operators, television, video, and motion pictures 60 $51,688 310
Correctional officers and jailers 60 $54,080 9,850
Slaughterers and meat packers 60 $27,019 710
Market research analysts & marketing specialists 61 $59,925 14,790
Life, physical & social science technicians, other 61 $31,512 5,480
Physical therapist aides 61 $23,754 1,620
Costume attendants 61 $43,784 100
Reservation and transportation ticket agents and travel clerks 61 $44,054 3,280
Electronic equipment installers and repairers, motor vehilces 61 $33,862 320
Food cooking machine operators and tenders 61 $33,259 1,040
Welding, soldering, and brazing machine setters, operators and tenders 61 $35,485 3,120
Water and wastewater treatment plant and system operators 61 $47,362 2,380
Tapers 62 $47,091 120
Pipelayers 62 $42,245 380
Motorboat operators 62 $47,154 30
Geoscientists, except hydrologists & geographers 63 $68,245 400
First-line supervisors of food preparation and serving workers 63 $30,139 27,660
Construction and building inspectors 63 $56,035 2,110
Control and valve installers and repairers, except 63 $61,277 1,530
Administrative law judges, adjudicators, and hearing officers 64 $99,757 470
Stock clerks and order fillers 64 $22,776 58,270
Maintenance and repair workers, general 64 $34,923 41,710
Power distributors and dispatchers 64 $76,066 280
Cutters and trimmers, hand 64 $23,816 230
Computer user support specialists 65 $47,736 19,620
Social science research assistants 65 $31,824 530
Librarians 65 $48,755 3,110
Electronic home entertainment equipment installers 65 $31,782 390
Heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration mechanics and installers 65 $46,467 8,170
Machinists 65 $39,915 26,540
Janitors and cleaners, except maids and housekeeping 66 $23,400 59,850
Pest control workers 66 $35,568 850
Statistical assistants 66 $47,382 230
Motorboat mechanics and service technicians 66 $39,270 1,130
Helpers--production workers 66 $23,754 20,130
Atmospheric and space scientists 67 $92,331 120
Lifeguards, ski patrol, and other recreational protective services workers 67 $19,469 3,210
Industrial machinery mechanics 67 $50,877 18,780
Foundry mold and coremakers 67 $36,754 1,160
Paper goods machine setters, operators, and tenders 67 $37,419 3,370
Bus drivers, transit and intercity 67 $34,299 3,600
Mechanical drafters 68 $55,682 4,310
Dental hygienists 68 $61,194 9,880
Postal service mail carriers 68 $57,741 11,950
Boilermakers 68 $69,888 210
Roustabouts, oil and gas 68 $37,107 320
Maids and housekeeping cleaners 69 $21,986 22,840
Painters, transportation equipment 69 $40,539 1,410
Light truck or delivery services drivers 69 $30,514 27,620
Eligibility interviewers, government programs 70 $52,749 4,390
Avionics technicians 70 $63,211 230
Tire repairers and changers 70 $28,725 3,180
Food batchmakers 70 $32,282 4,200
Opticians, dispensing 71 $34,736 3,370
Aircraft mechanics and service technicians 71 $52,229 2,490
Laundry and dry-cleaning workers 71 $22,506 6,250
Petroleum pump system operators, refinery operator 71 $55,640 450
Airfield operations specialists 71 $51,376 280
Public address system and other announcers 72 $24,440 270
Pharmacy aides 72 $22,838 560
Amusement and recreation attendants 72 $19,677 7,770
Carpenters 72 $43,077 18,160
Helpers--roofers 72 $24,981 90
Home appliance repairers 72 $35,859 1,210
Tank car, truck, and ship loaders 72 $45,885 40
Administrative services managers 73 $87,235 6,110
Glaziers 73 $46,675 1,260
Bus & truck mechanics & diesel engine specialists 73 $41,912 7,440
Coil winders, tapers, and finishers 73 $32,781 180
Textile knitting and weaving machine setters, operators 73 $22,526 30
Broadcast technicians 74 $33,862 780
Personal care aides 74 $21,382 37,870
Helpers--electricians 74 $23,774 600
Computer, automated teller, and office machine repairers 74 $36,816 1,890
Postmasters and mail superintendents 75 $76,794 450
Civil engineering technicians 75 $49,026 2,420
Tile and marble setters 75 $45,552 750
Painters, construction and maintenance 75 $38,480 3,880
Farm equipment mechanics and service technicians 75 $37,232 760
Transportation attendants except flight attendants 75 $24,170 560
Archivists 76 $52,499 110
Fallers 76 $29,286 150
Electric motor, power tool, and related repairers 76 $43,784 690
Chemical equipment operators and tenders 76 $46,197 2,480
Purchasing agents, exc. whoesale, retail & farm products 77 $64,459 11,710
Environmental science and protection technicians, 77 $45,261 840
Bartenders 77 $19,219 17,640
Dishwashers 77 $19,198 15,210
Tree trimmers and pruners 77 $44,325 1,530
Locksmiths and safe repairers 77 $39,021 440
Metal workers and plastic workers, all other 78 $43,971 1,260
Medical equipment preparers 78 $34,882 1,890
Computer operators 78 $39,915 820
Cutting, punching & press machine setters, operators and tenders, metal and plastic 78 $30,950 18,430
Gas plant operators 78 $71,365 960
Shampooers 79 $19,406 110
Postal service mail sorters, processors, and processing machine operators 79 $56,784 3,520
Logging equipment operators 79 $29,224 760
Floor layers, except carpet, wood, and hard tiles 79 $30,659 280
Drywall and ceiling tile installers 79 $40,685 1,290
Motorcycle mechanics 79 $30,680 480
Helpers--installation, maintenance, and repair workers 79 $25,418 2,240
Heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers 79 $39,666 53,040
Derrick operators, oil and gas 80 $37,877 50
Property, real estate & community assoc. mgr. 81 $55,141 5,120
Electrical and electronics drafters 81 $48,693 540
Electro-mechanical technicians 81 $64,210 550
Cooks, fast food 81 $19,219 14,110
Medical secretaries 81 $32,739 21,150
Word processors and typists 81 $39,312 1,850
Pressers, textile, garment, and related materials 81 $21,382 670
Cleaning, washing, and metal pickling equipment operators 81 $33,176 880
Nonfarm animal caretakers 82 $20,134 6,360
Brickmasons and blockmasons 82 $46,405 1,950
Sheet metal workers 82 $50,502 3,480
Security and fire alarm systems installers 82 $46,072 1,190
Refractory materials repairers, except brickmasons 82 $50,107 40
Engine and other machine assemblers 82 $47,611 4,850
Cooks, institution and cafeteria 83 $26,832 8,830
Baggage porters and bellhops 83 $22,485 800
Gaming change persons and booth cashiers 83 $26,894 800
Paving, surfacing, and tamping equipment operators 83 $45,552 1,220
Insulation workers, floor, ceiling, and wall 83 $33,384 680
Structural iron and steel workers 83 $50,211 1,450
Helpers--brickmasons, blockmasons, stonemasons, and tile and marble setters 83 $36,005 410
Septic tank servicers and sewer pipe cleaners 83 $37,211 930
Rolling machine setters, operators, and tenders, metal and plastic 83 $44,699 2,690
Printing press operators 83 $33,301 4,810
Mixing and blending machine setters, operators, and tenders 83 $35,818 4,620
Railroad conductors and yardmasters 83 $57,366 480
Sailors and marine oilers 83 $60,320 220
Automotive and watercraft service attendants 83 $20,259 3,370
Electrical and electronic engineering technicians 84 $54,642 3,180
Parking enforcement workers 84 $30,118 180
Security guards 84 $24,253 24,900
Proofreaders and copy markers 84 $37,086 340
Plasterers and stucco masons 84 $50,773 210
Lathe & turning machine tool setters, operators, tenders, metal and plastic 84 $35,901 2,710
Tool and die makers 84 $51,875 12,810
Layout workers, metal and plastic 84 $55,016 190
Tailors, dressmakers, and custom sewers 84 $26,250 1,210
Wellhead pumpers 84 $43,389 210
Nuclear technicians 85 $80,642 140
Sales rep., wholesale & manufacturing, except technical and scientific products 85 $58,677 54,300
Earth drillers, except oil and gas 85 $40,435 610
Power plant operators 85 $74,298 1,960
Chemical plant and system operators 85 $57,304 840
Laborers and freight, stock, and material movers, 85 $26,541 71,450
Veterinary assistants & lab. animal caretakers 86 $24,648 2,490
Food servers, nonrestaurant 86 $22,630 5,990
Real estate sales agents 86 $38,002 2,620
Correspondence clerks 86 $33,072 90
Executive secretaries and executive administrative assistants 86 $53,290 11,070
Maintenance workers, machinery 86 $43,576 1,910
Computer-controlled machine tool operators, metal and plastic 86 $35,277 10,220
Sawing machine setters, operators, and tenders, wood 86 $29,578 1,180
Plant and system operators, all other 86 $45,739 190
Cutting and slicing machine setters, operators, and tenders 86 $31,075 1,970
Farmworkers and laborers, crop, nursery, and green 87 $22,610 2,010
Food preparation and serving related workers, all 87 $19,490 850
Buyers and purchasing agents, farm products 87 $50,253 440
Food preparation workers 87 $22,069 20,530
Forest and conservation workers 87 $24,066 30
Carpet installers 87 $33,987 1,030
Floor sanders and finishers 87 $25,272 10
Highway maintenance workers 87 $43,784 3,390
Pourers and casters, metal 87 $33,030 300
Furniture finishers 87 $33,696 680
Parking lot attendants 87 $19,510 2,850
Cartographers and photogrammetrists 88 $60,882 360
Production, planning, and expediting clerks 88 $47,757 8,020
Terrazzo workers and finishers 88 $39,978 30
Construction laborers 88 $35,714 22,510
Rail car repairers 88 $58,864 230
Metal-refining furnace operators and tenders 88 $34,653 1,020
Tool grinders, filers, and sharpeners 88 $38,293 730
Sep., filtering, clarifying, precipitating still machine operators 88 $36,733 1,440
Motor vehicle operators, all other 89 $22,506 1,610
Technical writers 89 $66,685 1,000
Medical transcriptionists 89 $32,906 1,860
Rail-track laying & maintenance equipment operator 89 $52,062 90
Riggers 89 $53,893 380
Bakers 89 $23,171 5,420
Sewing machine operators 89 $24,190 3,290
Stationary engineers and boiler operators 89 $66,997 820
Bus drivers, school or special client 89 $32,656 13,420
Taxi drivers and chauffeurs 89 $21,986 4,240
Appraisers and assessors of real estate 90 $50,960 2,530
Medical and clinical laboratory technologists 90 $57,200 7,090
Human resources assistants, except payroll and timekeeping 90 $37,502 3,060
Roofers 90 $38,210 2,660
Patternmakers, metal and plastic 90 $54,080 300
Molders, shapers & casters, except metal & plastic 90 $29,786 1,520
Traffic technicians 90 $45,968 60
Transportation inspectors 90 $91,874 310
Crane and tower operators 90 $59,384 1,180
Pump operators, except wellhead pumpers 90 $39,811 80
Geological and petroleum technicians 91 $53,269 120
Medical records and health information technicians 91 $35,776 5,240
Dining room and cafeteria attendants and bartender 91 $19,386 8,790
Gaming and sports book writers and runners 91 $23,213 230
Tour guides and escorts 91 $20,093 1,100
Electrical and electronics installers & repairers, 91 $45,115 110
Automotive body and related repairers 91 $47,091 5,110
Mechanical door repairers 91 $36,608 330
Food and tobacco roasting, baking, and drying machine operators 91 $27,165 590
Extruding & drawing machine setters, operators, & tenders, metal and plastic 91 $32,635 2,800
Multiple machine tool setters, operators, and tenders 91 $33,800 8,080
Heat treating equipment setters, operators, and tenders 91 $36,338 1,660
Patternmakers, wood 91 $50,149 110
Coating, painting, and spraying machine setters, operators and tenders 91 $28,746 3,620
Rail yard engineers, dinkey operators, & hostlers 91 $47,029 160
Gas compressor and gas pumping station operators 91 $63,232 30
Production workers, all other 92 $34,258 7,510
Pharmacy technicians 92 $29,453 12,230
Combined food preparation and serving workers, including fast food 92 $19,136 114,410
Retail salespersons 92 $21,278 147,440
Insurance sales agents 92 $48,568 10,850
Loan interviewers and clerks 92 $35,069 5,210
Office machine operators, except computer 92 $27,477 1,390
Helpers--carpenters 92 $25,938 560
Fence erectors 92 $33,051 170
Plating & coating machine setters, operators & tenders 92 $28,870 2,120
Cabinetmakers and bench carpenters 92 $35,131 1,680
Painting, coating, and decorating workers 92 $34,050 800
Tax examiners and collectors, and revenue agents 93 $70,907 600
Service unit operators, oil, gas, and mining 93 $40,872 350
Radio, cellular, and tower equipment installers an 93 $58,365 200
Outdoor power equipment and other small engine mechanics 93 $31,824 1,160
Fiberglass laminators and fabricators 93 $32,843 470
Butchers and meat cutters 93 $28,434 3,690
Forging machine setters, operators, and tenders, metal and plastic 93 $30,202 1,380
Model makers, metal and plastic 93 $68,058 1,190
Extruding, forming, pressing & compacting machine setters, operators and tenders 93 $29,182 2,280
Conveyor operators and tenders 93 $33,821 480
Industrial truck and tractor operators 93 $31,346 16,590
Machine feeders and offbearers 93 $31,450 1,330
Refuse and recyclable material collectors 93 $37,877 3,790
Sales and related workers, all other 94 $24,565 1,580
Accountants and auditors 94 $64,792 30,510
Budget analysts 94 $80,538 870
Paralegals and legal assistants 94 $48,880 5,570
Cooks, short order 94 $20,800 4,390
Waiters and waitresses 94 $19,178 79,900
First-line supervisors of housekeeping and janitor 94 $34,320 3,940
Hotel, motel, and resort desk clerks 94 $20,155 5,280
Interviewers, except eligibility and loan 94 $33,592 3,990
Couriers and messengers 94 $24,877 2,150
Mail clerks and mail machine operators, except postal service 94 $27,955 2,200
Agricultural inspectors 94 $53,726 340
Cement masons and concrete finishers 94 $40,248 4,070
Bicycle repairers 94 $23,899 600
Coin, vending, and amusement machine servicers and repairers 94 $34,757 860
Meat, poultry, and fish cutters and trimmers 94 $24,523 1,330
Drilling & boring machine tool setters, oper., and tenders, metal and plastic 94 $45,614 920
Welders, cutters, solderers, and brazers 94 $36,400 12,080
Excavating and loading machine and dragline operators 94 $41,267 1,120
Gaming surveillance officers & investigators 95 $36,546 510
Landscaping and groundskeeping workers 95 $25,251 30,840
Manicurists and pedicurists 95 $23,358 770
Bill and account collectors 95 $36,920 6,760
Library assistants, clerical 95 $20,280 4,400
Postal service clerks 95 $56,784 2,830
Weighers, measurers, checkers, and samplers, recordkeeping 95 $30,389 1,310
Operating engineers and other construction equipment 95 $48,922 7,070
Electrical and electronic equipment assemblers 95 $28,267 10,020
Grind., lap., polish. & buff. mach. tool set., operators 95 $32,760 4,680
Molding, coremaking & casting machine set., operators. 95 $29,058 14,120
Print binding and finishing workers 95 $30,493 1,620
Textile cutting machine setters, operators, and tenders 95 $27,768 370
Jewelers and precious stone and metal workers 95 $29,682 560
Adhesive bonding machine operators and tenders 95 $25,085 290
Information and record clerks, all other 96 $33,717 2,480
Office & administrative support workers, all other 96 $46,966 2,290
Compensation and benefits managers 96 $98,384 340
Surveying and mapping technicians 96 $39,021 1,120
Cooks, restaurant 96 $22,277 36,240
Counter attendants, cafeteria, food concession, and coffee shops 96 $19,219 10,180
Gaming dealers 96 $19,240 3,430
Ushers, lobby attendants, and ticket takers 96 $19,448 3,120
Switchboard operators, including answering service 96 $28,309 2,210
Billing and posting clerks 96 $35,630 15,530
Receptionists and information clerks 96 $27,186 31,230
Dispatchers, except police, fire, and ambulance 96 $37,107 5,180
Secretaries & administrative assistants, except legale, medical and executive 96 $33,509 59,710
Office clerks, general 96 $31,554 102,910
Locomotive engineers 96 $60,549 410
Assemblers and fabricators, all other 97 $25,251 4,290
Agricultural and food science technicians 97 $37,586 240
Hosts and hostesses, restaurant, lounge, and coffee shops 97 $19,011 11,460
Pesticide handlers, sprayers, and applicators, vegetation 97 $32,406 860
Motion picture projectionists 97 $24,856 170
Cashiers 97 $19,698 92,860
Counter and rental clerks 97 $23,858 11,790
Real estate brokers 97 $70,699 590
Telephone operators 97 $29,182 320
Payroll and timekeeping clerks 97 $39,894 3,330
Credit authorizers, checkers, and clerks 97 $36,109 590
File clerks 97 $29,266 2,290
Camera and photographic equipment repairers 97 $43,264 80
Electromechanical equipment assemblers 97 $37,752 320
Team assemblers 97 $32,053 105,140
Prepress technician and workers 97 $33,966 1,050
Woodworking machine setters, operators, and tenders 97 $26,790 2,640
Crushing, grinding, & polishing machine setters, operators and tenders 97 $29,266 570
Grinding and polishing workers, hand 97 $27,518 1,690
Dental laboratory technicians 97 $36,899 1,300
Ophthalmic laboratory technicians 97 $31,990 1,070
Bridge and lock tenders 97 $53,581 100
Claims adjusters, examiners, and investigators 98 $64,459 5,650
Insurance appraisers, auto damage 98 $56,285 190
Credit analysts 98 $50,814 1,230
Radio operators 98 $53,310 20
Parts salespersons 98 $31,678 9,090
Models 98 $45,282 20
Bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks 98 $37,149 38,940
Procurement clerks 98 $37,835 1,870
Tellers 98 $26,104 15,550
Brokerage clerks 98 $46,467 930
Order clerks 98 $34,445 3,120
Shipping, receiving, and traffic clerks 98 $31,574 21,270
Legal secretaries 98 $45,219 5,380
Insurance claims and policy processing clerks 98 $39,270 4,540
Milling & planing machine setters, operators, & tenders 98 $38,418 1,150
Inspectors, testers, sorters, samplers & weighers 98 $31,928 26,900
Packaging and filling machine operators & tenders 98 $27,248 14,700
Etchers and engravers 98 $32,365 350
Driver/sales workers 98 $20,446 13,140
Insurance underwriters 99 $60,029 1,760
Tax preparers 99 $31,450 2,440
Title examiners, abstractors, and searchers 99 $40,851 1,720
Library technicians 99 $29,328 3,560
Telemarketers 99 $23,400 4,490
New accounts clerks 99 $35,755 1,050
Cargo and freight agents 99 $41,829 1,670
Data entry keyers 99 $29,702 5,040
Watch repairers 99 $42,827 50
Sewers, hand 99 $24,856 140
Photographic process workers and processing machine operators 99 $27,643 630

“No lines, no checkouts, no registers.”

That may sound like shopping heaven for busy consumers. But no registers also means no cashiers. No cashiers, and 92,860 people in Michigan lose their jobs

Last December, Amazon unveiled “Amazon Go,” a convenience store that uses new technology to track what shoppers take off the shelves, so they can leave the store without using a cashier. Cameras and deep learning algorithms allow the store to automatically charge shoppers’ online accounts for what they put in their bag.  

While store cashiers are nowhere near extinct, the automation of labor is silently wiping out thousands of existing jobs across Michigan ‒ and it’s poised to grow.

MORE COVERAGE: If you don’t want to lose your job to a robot, don’t think like one 

MORE COVERAGE: Four tips for staying employed in the age of artificial intelligence

Analysis by Bloomberg Magazine of data from the Bureau of Labor and Statistics suggests that jobs with the highest risk of automation are lower-paying service jobs. Some restaurants, for instance, have begun to phase out wait staff and cooks in favor of iPads and kiosks. A total (if unlikely) shift in the industry would take 379,500 jobs in the state. Receptionists, also on the decline, account for 31,230 Michigan workers. And one day, self-driving cars could eliminate the need for truckers, taking the jobs of 53,040 Michiganians.

“I don’t think people have...given enough thought to the very drastic changes that are coming in the American economy as well as the Michigan economy,” said Donald Grimes, a senior research specialist and economic forecaster at the University of Michigan’s Institute for Research on Labor, Employment, and the Economy.

For all the talk about how automation has changed the face of manufacturing, “in many ways, the effect of automation has been bigger outside of manufacturing…it’s much more widespread than people realize.”

Most low-paying Michigan jobs destined for automation

Hundreds of thousands of jobs in Michigan are in the crosshairs of robots, algorithms and smart-phone apps, likely to go the way of telephone operators, travel agents ‒ and factory workers. Below shows that some of the highest-paying jobs ‒ requiring lots of education ‒ are currently immune. But thousands of others, many with low wages, are more likely to get booted by technology. Note: The bigger the circle, the more jobs are in that occupation. The chance of a job becoming automated is greater going to the right, and pays better toward the top of the chart.

 

Note: This analysis covers over 93 percent of Michigan jobs and utilizes the research of Carl Benedikt Frey and Michael A. Osborne, professors at the University of Oxford, England. Based on descriptions of the skills needed for more than 700 occupations, Frey and Osborne calculated the likelihood that those jobs would be "computerized" or automated in the future. Bridge then combined that analysis with a job-by-job breakdown of employment in Michigan.

Consider the secretary. In 2006, 37,500 Michiganders worked as executive secretaries or administrative assistants. According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, that number had shrunk to 11,070 people by 2016.

“It wasn’t so many years ago that large numbers of secretaries were employed to type things...and to do dictation and all of that,” says Susan Houseman, a Senior Economist at the Kalamazoo-based W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research. “The personal computer means that everybody...can act as their own administrative assistant and secretary.”

Secretary is not the only office job getting pink-slipped. Office administrator positions in Michigan shrank by 84 percent. Business operations specialists are down 44 percent. Roughly two-thirds of the jobs taking the biggest hit in Michigan are outside of manufacturing.

It’s important to know, of course, that technological innovation has historically created more jobs than it destroys in the overall economy. But overall trends do little to comfort those who lose their paycheck to automation and,  for reasons of geography or job skills, can’t latch onto new work. Such problems are poised to become increasingly common ‒ researchers at Oxford University estimate that 47 percent of all U.S. jobs have the potential to be computerized in the coming decades. Automation of jobs has arrived.

Is Michigan ready for the skills required of current and future jobs?

Automating jobs

Of the occupations which saw the biggest declines in jobs in Michigan since 2011, most were those highly susceptible to automation, including factory workers, clerks and food-service industry workers.

Occupation Jobs in 2016 Loss since 2011 Percent loss Automation probabliity Median annual wages
Assemblers and fabricators* 4,290 -16,460 -79.3 95 $34,091
Information and record clerks* 2,480 -3,330 -57.3 91 $33,511
Executive secretaries and administrative assistants 11,070 -11,020 -49.9 86 $53,290
Financial specialists, all other 4,890 -3,230 -39.8 33 $62,462
Chief executives 6,260 -4,000 -39 1.5 $160,160
Industrial engineering technicians 4,790 -2,820 -37.1 3 $48,318
Dining room and cafeteria attendants and bartender helpers 8,790 -4,550 -34.1 91 $19,386
Managers, all other 8,140 -3,400 -29.5 25 $92,331
Counter attendants, cafeteria, food concession, and coffee shop 10,180 -3,690 -26.6 96 $19,219
Business operations specialists, all other 26,280 -8,370 -24.2 23 $61,235

* Automation probability estimated based on research by Carl Benedikt Frey and Michael A. Osborne, professors at the University of Oxford, England. Based on descriptions of the skills needed for more than 700 occupations, Frey and Osborne calculated the likelihood that those jobs would be "computerized" or automated in the future.

A national struggle

This technological revolution comes amid two related countrywide debates: How to stem job loss? And what to do about stagnated wages?

Jobs lost to technological advances cannot be solved by immigration restrictions or retooling international trade deals. These jobs are not being taken by any person or nation. They are simply disappearing.

Indeed, “the retail industry alone accounted for four of the ten subsectors with the biggest losses in the first four months of 2017,” Bloomberg reported in June, with 85,700 U.S. jobs lost. By comparison, 2,800 jobs were lost in the coal industry over that same period.

Meanwhile, the buying power of workers has also stalled. The Pew Research Center, a nonpartisan research think tank, found that the federal minimum wage was higher in 1968, when adjusted for inflation. A frozen minimum wage does not affect just teenagers scooping ice cream over the summer ‒ about half of minimum-wage workers in the country are older than 24.

While a smaller slice of U.S. workers now earn minimum wage, the two largest industries for minimum wage work are in restaurant and sales jobs. This means the automation of service jobs like cashiers will affect a large portion of those already working for low wages.

mit chart

Source: Courtesy of MIT Technology Review: The Relentless Pace of Automation

As automation becomes a more efficient option, some economists predict that the fight for higher minimum-wage laws may encourage more companies to invest in automation, especially in the food service and sales. The push to increase minimum wage to $15 is what reportedly pushed McDonald’s to replace some cashiers with kiosks. Wendy’s has announced its decision to pursue the same tactic this year following a 5 percent increase in labor costs after a number of states raised their minimum wage.

With office jobs, food preparation, and retail facing a high likelihood of automation amid this national tide, Michigan stands to lose many existing jobs. According to data from to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics, “office and administrative support” is the most common occupation in the state, with 624,190 workers. “Sales and related occupations” and “food preparation and serving-related occupations” also rank in the top five most common occupations in the state, accounting for 425,860 and 379,500 workers respectively.

How does Michigan prepare?

“I don’t think that there’s any precedent” for how the state can prepare for the dislocation of automation, said Houseman, the Upjohn economist. “[T]here's precedent for controlling trade. Or slowing down the pace for opening up markets to mitigate, a bit, the dislocation from trade. I don’t know of any policies historically that has tried to do that to sort of mitigate the pace of technological change.”

Houseman, Grimes, and other labor economists note that the use of automation to save on labor costs is not new. The “shift from farm life into the cities was a major upheaval in terms of the types of labor that were provided” said Houseman, and “people adjusted, ultimately. New jobs were created.”

Indeed, technology does generally create more jobs than it destroys. According to U.S. Census data, only one job has been completely eliminated due to automation ‒ elevator operator. Conventional economic theory says technological advances are ultimately good for the economy, as automation improves productivity, which fosters economic growth and wage increases.

“The big question,” Houseman cautions, “is whether what we are seeing now is fundamentally different from the sorts of waves of industrialization that we’ve experienced in the past.”

As Grimes notes, the most recent wave of automation is difficult because it is happening so quickly, which means “a bigger number of people you have to get retrained.”

Thinkers around the world are pondering how to best smooth the transition. Microsoft cofounder Bill Gates has suggested an extra tax on companies that utilize robotic labor. The idea was considered (and ultimately rejected) by lawmakers in the European Union.

The most traditional response to labor restructuring “is to beef up job search assistance and retraining provided by the state,” Houseman said, usually with help from the federal government.

Gov. Rick Snyder’s administration has emphasized reinvestment in training programs for professional trades. In April, the second phase of the governor’s “Going PRO” campaign launched, which aims to “change the discussion about the professional trades, enhance career tech programs and better connect the business and education communities so Michigan students can embrace opportunities for rewarding careers.”

The state, through the Michigan Workplace Development Force, has also invested in the Skilled Trades Training Fund, which provides economic incentives to employers that help workers enhance their job skills. Dave Murray, spokesperson at the Michigan Department of Talent and Economic Development, told MLive in April that 26,000 employees have received training through the fund.

Stephanie Beckhorn, senior deputy director for workforce programs at Michigan’s Talent Investment Agency, told Bridge the state also has a program for workers who lose their job to foreign trade, but none specifically for automation dislocation. No matter the cause, she said, the agency is “certainly available to help any individual that needs it.”

cashier

With cashier positions vulnerable to automation, this nice person should probably be developing other job skills.

Threats to state’s robust job retraining  

Many worker training programs are run by a combination of state and federal funding and Houseman noted the Trump administration has proposed a 21 percent cut to the U.S. Labor Department, which she predicted would would have an impact on the state’s job-training efforts.

Even if properly funded, Grimes, the U-M economist, said he is concerned that traditional approaches may no longer be enough.

He said that while technical training at community colleges and apprenticeship programs in Michigan is usually very good, many workers also need to sharpen their soft skills, which can mean getting workers “to understand that means a major change in terms of how they interact with their customers or their clients.

“It’s one thing to be working on a construction project, and then that same person goes to become a nursing aide. They’re going to have to have much better interpersonal skills to deal with that client. ...That’s not going to be an easy transition for those people or for society to make that change.”  

“I don’t have any good answers,” Grimes, said, “but I do know it’s coming.”

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William C. Plumpe
Thu, 08/17/2017 - 10:12am

The writing is on the wall. Withing 10 years or less a great number of lower skill jobs will be severely reduced in number. These jobs like cashier, clerk, assembly and even commercial trucking will always be around but for bigger companies will be fully or almost fully automated. IT training of some type will be a requirement for any human jobs that remain at the bigger companies so the key is education, education, education to teach Math, IT skills and skilled trades that won't be automated.

Rich
Thu, 08/17/2017 - 1:01pm

Even skilled trades could be reduced. There is a trend to reduce stick-built houses, and replace them with panels built in a factory. If it's in a factory, it can be automated. The plumbers, electricians, HVAC, and carpenters are all replaced with a lower paid assembler who unloads the panels and joins them together. A typical two story house is built in two weeks or less this way.

James Thornton
Thu, 08/17/2017 - 2:37pm

Go To Kroger's Food store. The computer check out is a minefield of errors.

If you could get just one person in line at each checkout lane with a person you could get out quicker. Driver less cars/trucks well they require so much Tech. A Study Popular Science/Mechanics about 2014. It would take 10 trillion dollars to make sure there were just no crashes on the rail roads. So much money that it was cheaper to not do it. Then the railroad companies did not want to do the more simple thing. Just make sure the engineers had enough sleep. Maybe having a bunk on some long cross country runs so you could keep the driver well rested and the train did not stop.

KeithK2
Thu, 08/17/2017 - 7:10pm

The article postulates that, "It’s important to know, of course, that technological innovation has historically created more jobs than it destroys in the overall economy" However, in terms of this wave of technological displacement of workers, the number of jobs that will be available to absorb those workers is also shrinking. Until the end of the Baby Boom, job creation was fueled by the overall growth in the economy spurred by all those new consumers growing up and supporting demand which kept the job market humming. But now that the Boomers are retiring, downsizing and (ultimately) dying, there is no driving force to spur growth as a smaller generation comes up behind theirs, and an even smaller one behind that. As jobs at one level are automated, especially if they involve older workers, there is little hope that those workers will be able to find gainful employment if all of the jobs at their skill level are being replaced with robots and machines. Young people and students lose out when lower skilled jobs they normally fill to finance that higher education so necessary to survive this new economy, are automated. In short, this is one wave of technological innovation where the new jobs created, are then filled by machines.

Michael Kiella
Thu, 08/17/2017 - 10:24pm

The most important part of this essay to this reader is that people must become adept and flexible in their job-readiness skill training. It is a matter of personal responsibility. A cashier will not always be a cashier...I get it.

So, let's consider this thought experiment: if a local school district graduates say, 100 high school students each year, and those districts send 20% of those students to post secondary education; and considering national statistics find that only 50% of that 20% will actually graduate with a (presumably) marketable skill; what lies is store for the other 90 high school graduates? Have school districts considered the implications of not preparing the vast majority, in favor of the few? What does this say about a community's workforce preparation priorities? For the 10%, I say GOOD; for the 90%, I say good LUCK.

Relevant job skill(s) and a culture that maintains flexibility in the marketplace should be the relentless focus of workforce preparation. Should we expect, then reward school curriculum planners who get the future right? Should we teach how to adapt to change? Should we teach tolerance of ambiguity? It appears that our success in the future depends on our ability to live (and work) in a world with growing ambiguity.

How does it work in your community?

Michael Bennane
Fri, 08/18/2017 - 3:30pm

Automation worked out well for the Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency when reviewing benefits issued. If it saves taxpayer money, why not expand that program?

Brian Casterline
Sat, 08/19/2017 - 12:05pm

This has been a reoccurring story since Ned Ludd started breaking mecahanical looms in the 1780's. The current unemployment rate in Liescestershire UK, Ned's hometown is 4.4 so it seems that things will work out.