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.

OccupationAutomation probabiityMedian annual wagesJobs, 2016
Audiologists0.3$71,157410
Mental health and substance abuse social workers0.3$47,6323,730
Emergency management directors0.3$62,317140
First-line supervisors of mechanics, installers0.3$62,79514,230
Recreational therapists0.3$49,733600
Physicians and surgeons, all other0.4$186,26413,520
Family and general practitioners0.4$172,5574,520
Social workers, all other0.4$65,166780
Psychiatrists0.4$174,554650
Dentists, general0.4$168,7094,000
First-line supervisors of police and detectives0.4$77,1472,450
Psychologists, all other0.4$92,872270
Instructional coordinators0.4$65,0424,330
Sales engineers0.4$97,1982,550
Choreographers0.4$35,901170
Lodging managers0.4$39,1661,100
Dietitians and nutritionists0.4$55,7441,760
First-line supervisors of fire fighting and prevention0.4$62,442910
Healthcare social workers0.4$53,7066,070
Occupational therapists0.4$73,5494,810
Orthotists and prosthetists0.4$62,546460
Fabric and apparel patternmakers0.5$34,48630
Mental health counselors0.5$46,3842,580
Clinical, counseling, and school psychologists0.5$70,9282,750
Podiatrists0.5$113,734450
Medical scientists, except epidemiologists0.5$58,2192,790
Speech-language pathologists0.6$73,6323,130
Training and development managers0.6$101,754680
Recreation workers0.6$21,75711,160
Human resources managers0.6$96,3463,770
Set and exhibit designers0.6$49,275100
Information security analysts0.7$88,0261,970
Preschool teachers, except special education0.7$27,6857,740
Medical and health services managers0.7$92,47710,980
Curators0.7$45,885290
Social and community service managers0.7$68,4944,620
Computer systems analysts0.7$84,80215,250
Foresters0.8$63,045310
Clergy0.8$40,2902,460
Anthropologists and archeologists0.8$66,70620
Registered nurses0.9$67,45492,670
Nurse practitioners0.9$97,2193,520
Rehabilitation counselors0.9$36,7952,700
Educational, guidance, school, and vocational counselors0.9$50,8985,800
Education administrators, postsecondary1$91,2505,000
Forensic science technicians1$73,986270
Mechanical engineers1.1$86,54942,080
Logisticians1.2$79,1447,500
Microbiologists1.2$58,635330
Pharmacists1.2$118,7899,050
Sales managers1.3$121,41010,090
Marketing managers1.4$115,9183,870
Training and development specialists1.4$57,0345,370
Engineers, all other1.4$88,9627,410
Hydrologists1.4$80,26790
Marriage and family therapists1.4$42,952320
First-line supervisors of office and administrative1.4$52,66632,410
Fundraisers1.5$55,0372,050
Chief executives1.5$160,1606,260
Public relations and fundraising managers1.5$99,0701,300
Education admin., preschool & childcare center1.5$44,2621,140
Computer and information research scientists1.5$97,968380
Biological scientists, all other1.5$79,477250
Multimedia artists and animators1.5$54,080460
Music directors and composers1.5$50,586730
Conservation scientists1.6$64,459290
Securities, commodities, and financial services sales1.6$54,7256,750
First-line supervisors of production and operating1.6$59,55027,320
Architectural and engineering managers1.7$122,32510,090
Aerospace engineers1.7$89,6691,330
Chemical engineers1.7$93,787670
Architects, except landscape and naval1.8$70,1382,130
Environmental engineers1.8$85,4461,490
Physical therapist assistants1.8$48,6513,960
Civil engineers1.9$73,6537,590
Health diagnosing & treating practitioners, other2$65,707520
Materials engineers2.1$74,6301,300
Soil and plant scientists2.1$51,667330
Materials scientists2.1$92,248370
Fashion designers2.1$52,333210
Photographers2.1$36,1711,340
Physical therapists2.1$83,8458,300
Interior designers2.2$44,5541,480
Producers and directors2.2$56,9922,180
Art directors2.3$77,8541,070
Orthodontists2.3$170,16590
Electronics engineers, except computer2.5$86,4863,030
Directors, religious activities and education2.5$30,5971,730
First-line supervisors of correctional officers2.5$61,6931,030
Biochemists and biophysicists2.7$75,504550
Chiropractors2.7$61,6931,440
Health and safety engineers, except mining safety2.8$89,835690
Child, family, and school social workers2.8$46,90413,490
Occupational therapy assistants2.8$51,0431,140
Industrial engineers2.9$85,17626,660
Veterinary technologists and technicians2.9$32,2403,000
First-line supervisors of trans. & material-moving2.9$51,6884,700
Industrial production managers3$108,05610,410
Purchasing managers3$99,4242,640
Database administrators3$85,4882,680
Network and computer systems administrators3$72,9258,450
Industrial engineering technicians3$48,3184,790
Vocational education teachers, postsecondary3.2$40,3523,130
Environmental scientists and specialists, includin3.3$66,2062,140
Substance abuse & behavioral disorder counselors3.3$36,5661,840
Computer and information systems managers3.5$116,8348,730
Operations research analysts3.5$82,5761,580
Lawyers3.5$95,84614,850
Meeting, convention, and event planners3.7$43,3472,070
Biomedical engineers3.7$77,896220
Commercial and industrial designers3.7$80,7466,600
Writers and authors3.8$57,158730
Veterinarians3.8$80,0382,080
Advertising and promotions managers3.9$87,672650
Political scientists3.9$86,27830
Credit counselors4$44,262890
Social scientists and related workers, all other4$66,581440
Software developers, applications4.2$82,76320,090
Fine artists, including painters, sculptors, and illustrators4.2$45,885350
Psychiatric technicians4.3$41,4131,140
Landscape architects4.5$62,629490
Health educators4.5$51,9581,310
Farmers, ranchers & other ag. managers4.7$65,25060
Floral designers4.7$25,3341,160
Emergency medical technicians and paramedics4.9$29,8066,580
Editors5.5$49,2961,510
Licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses5.8$46,50914,980
Sociologists5.9$69,49370
Arbitrators, mediators, and conciliators6$68,515300
Animal scientists6.1$54,954190
Residential advisors6.4$25,1262,060
Respiratory therapists6.6$55,6404,120
Aircraft cargo handling supervisors6.6$43,930190
Financial managers6.9$105,12313,670
Construction managers7.1$84,6983,900
Musicians and singers7.4$33,9251,490
First-line supervisors of non-retail sales workers7.5$67,9126,850
First-line supervisors of personal service workers7.6$33,6545,820
Compliance officers8$66,8105,640
Fish and game wardens8$61,630190
Graphic designers8.2$45,0115,830
Food service managers8.3$52,0215,170
Childcare workers8.4$20,19716,900
Fitness trainers and aerobics instructors8.5$29,7655,400
Gaming managers9.1$77,022320
Electrical power-line installers and repairers9.7$75,2544,680
Police and sheriffs patrol officers9.8$58,84316,100
Travel agents9.9$30,0351,930
Electrical engineers10$85,9669,780
Physicists10$92,643410
Chemists10$75,7742,920
Radio and television announcers10$30,264760
Respiratory therapy technicians10$41,142160
Chefs and head cooks10$43,9092,930
Animal trainers10$23,192350
Reporters and correspondents11$37,0861,350
Hairdressers, hairstylists, and cosmetologists11$24,35710,840
Air traffic controllers11$106,184370
Software developers, systems software13$84,30212,040
Urban and regional planners13$59,925670
Social and human service assistants13$26,8749,480
Self-enrichment education teachers13$29,4745,590
Sound engineering technicians13$52,978130
Nuclear medicine technologists13$67,954710
Dietetic technicians13$25,7501,060
Mining and geological engineers, including mining14$87,33950
Optometrists14$103,9171,240
Physician assistants14$98,6754,550
Electricians15$58,07420,370
General and operations managers16$98,59258,040
Petroleum engineers16$112,237130
Desktop publishers16$40,290560
Financial examiners17$67,683690
Occupational health and safety specialists17$70,3251,670
Firefighters17$43,6595,600
Supervisors of construction and extraction workers17$60,79811,290
Public relations specialists18$54,8295,290
Commercial divers18$50,710200
Adult basic and secondary education and literacy teachers and instructors19$47,0291,170
Epidemiologists20$70,637150
Web developers21$61,5062,630
Computer network architects21$104,0832,520
Actuaries21$83,699420
Animal control workers21$37,606250
Concierges21$23,442460
Computer occupations, all other22$74,6516,960
Computer network support specialists22$57,1585,710
Statisticians22$87,277660
Radiologic technologists23$52,6866,440
Magnetic resonance imaging technologists23$61,0481,650
Business operations specialists, all other23$61,23526,280
Financial analysts23$75,8375,800
Survey researchers23$62,774400
Cardiovascular technologists and technicians23$54,8502,100
Agents & business mgr., artists, performers, athletes24$56,285250
Engineering technicians, except drafters, all others24$58,7392,300
Managers, all other25$92,3318,140
Environmental engineering technicians25$46,010250
Geographers25$62,02620
Probation officers and correctional treatment spec25$61,6932,630
Occupational health and safety technicians25$43,035230
Sales rep., wholesale & manufacturing, technical & scientific projects25$77,8969,070
Ambulance drivers and attendants, except emergency25$24,253400
Occupational therapy aides27$30,65960
Medical equipment repairers27$41,9331,750
Captains, mates, and pilots of water vessels27$54,642220
Gaming supervisors28$47,1951,070
First-line supervisors of retail sales workers28$38,68834,670
Wholesale and retail buyers, except farm products29$46,6542,060
Skincare specialists29$25,7711,010
Zoologists and wildlife biologists30$66,706250
Biological technicians30$36,2131,110
Medical assistants30$29,84822,300
Labor relations specialists31$62,7954,240
Film and video editors31$44,179510
Private detectives and investigators31$44,970310
Financial specialists, all other33$62,4624,890
Radiation therapists34$73,570420
Surgical technologists34$43,3473,500
Detectives and criminal investigators34$80,2051,840
Diagnostic medical sonographers35$60,7982,430
Plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters35$63,60611,870
Bailiffs36$40,019590
Telecommunications equipment installers & repairer36$52,5415,960
Computer numerically controlled machine tool programer36$48,9632,130
Actors37$25,563350
Funeral attendants37$24,7101,420
Helpers--extraction workers37$27,74760
Furnace, kiln, oven, drier, and kettle operators and tenders37$42,266620
Cleaners of vehicles and equipment37$20,0939,010
Surveyors38$52,1871,210
Mechanical engineering technicians38$56,7634,560
Interpreters and translators38$43,2221,040
Electrical and electronics repairers, powerhouse,38$76,5861,180
Packers and packagers, hand38$21,40324,600
Audio-visual & multimedia collections specialists39$36,899120
Home health aides39$21,23730,420
Gaming cage workers39$26,562590
Elevator installers and repairers39$75,234310
Upholsterers39$28,475480
Health technologists and technicians, all other40$37,8983,210
Mobile heavy equipment mechanics, except engines40$47,8822,540
Graders and sorters, agricultural products41$19,261650
Electrical and electronics repairers, commercial a41$54,1011,550
Structural metal fabricators and fitters41$36,1713,530
Forest and conservation technicians42$32,323310
First-line supervisors of helpers, laborers, and material movers, hand42$48,9845,260
Physical scientists, all other43$61,3391,550
Economists43$74,381270
Locker room, coatroom and dressing room attendants43$19,282570
Historians44$60,65340
Medical appliance technicians45$43,576140
Court, municipal, and license clerks46$39,3126,330
Ophthalmic medical technicians47$34,9861,420
Compensation, benefits & job analysis specialists47$58,4271,620
Medical and clinical laboratory technicians47$31,8456,390
Psychiatric aides47$28,2462,600
Computer programmers48$71,7603,730
Aerospace engineering and operations technicians48$56,93060
Merchandise displayers and window trimmers48$23,8165,020
Fire inspectors and investigators48$67,974220
Agricultural engineers49$77,02210
Crossing guards49$21,9021,290
Police, fire, and ambulance dispatchers49$40,8722,070
Telecommunications line installers and repairers49$44,886960
Installation, maintenance & repair workers, other50$43,0142,700
Court reporters50$43,077880
Dental assistants51$35,7149,480
Demonstrators and product promoters51$23,6501,630
Architectural and civil drafters52$45,1981,860
Shoe and leather workers and repairers52$26,270110
Hazardous materials removal workers53$45,011970
Rotary drill operators, oil and gas53$42,91080
Massage therapists54$40,6852,230
Slot supervisors54$34,986640
Embalmers54$36,29640
Advertising sales agents54$40,2904,140
Continuous mining machine operators54$43,243150
Audio and video equipment technicians55$44,5951,560
Customer service representatives55$31,86689,370
Cost estimators57$59,2186,480
Chemical technicians57$44,0752,240
Supervisors of landscaping, lawn service & grounds57$43,2853,440
First-line supervisors of farming, fishing, and forestry workers57$38,459350
Helpers--pipelayers, plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters57$27,082670
Personal financial advisors58$70,3664,580
Trans., storage, and distribution managers59$97,3022,390
Museum technicians and conservators59$35,027160
Automotive service technicians and mechanics59$37,04520,800
Recreational vehicle service technicians59$36,899400
Millwrights59$68,9312,910
Camera operators, television, video, and motion pictures60$51,688310
Correctional officers and jailers60$54,0809,850
Slaughterers and meat packers60$27,019710
Market research analysts & marketing specialists61$59,92514,790
Life, physical & social science technicians, other61$31,5125,480
Physical therapist aides61$23,7541,620
Costume attendants61$43,784100
Reservation and transportation ticket agents and travel clerks61$44,0543,280
Electronic equipment installers and repairers, motor vehilces61$33,862320
Food cooking machine operators and tenders61$33,2591,040
Welding, soldering, and brazing machine setters, operators and tenders61$35,4853,120
Water and wastewater treatment plant and system operators61$47,3622,380
Tapers62$47,091120
Pipelayers62$42,245380
Motorboat operators62$47,15430
Geoscientists, except hydrologists & geographers63$68,245400
First-line supervisors of food preparation and serving workers63$30,13927,660
Construction and building inspectors63$56,0352,110
Control and valve installers and repairers, except63$61,2771,530
Administrative law judges, adjudicators, and hearing officers64$99,757470
Stock clerks and order fillers64$22,77658,270
Maintenance and repair workers, general64$34,92341,710
Power distributors and dispatchers64$76,066280
Cutters and trimmers, hand64$23,816230
Computer user support specialists65$47,73619,620
Social science research assistants65$31,824530
Librarians65$48,7553,110
Electronic home entertainment equipment installers65$31,782390
Heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration mechanics and installers65$46,4678,170
Machinists65$39,91526,540
Janitors and cleaners, except maids and housekeeping66$23,40059,850
Pest control workers66$35,568850
Statistical assistants66$47,382230
Motorboat mechanics and service technicians66$39,2701,130
Helpers--production workers66$23,75420,130
Atmospheric and space scientists67$92,331120
Lifeguards, ski patrol, and other recreational protective services workers67$19,4693,210
Industrial machinery mechanics67$50,87718,780
Foundry mold and coremakers67$36,7541,160
Paper goods machine setters, operators, and tenders67$37,4193,370
Bus drivers, transit and intercity67$34,2993,600
Mechanical drafters68$55,6824,310
Dental hygienists68$61,1949,880
Postal service mail carriers68$57,74111,950
Boilermakers68$69,888210
Roustabouts, oil and gas68$37,107320
Maids and housekeeping cleaners69$21,98622,840
Painters, transportation equipment69$40,5391,410
Light truck or delivery services drivers69$30,51427,620
Eligibility interviewers, government programs70$52,7494,390
Avionics technicians70$63,211230
Tire repairers and changers70$28,7253,180
Food batchmakers70$32,2824,200
Opticians, dispensing71$34,7363,370
Aircraft mechanics and service technicians71$52,2292,490
Laundry and dry-cleaning workers71$22,5066,250
Petroleum pump system operators, refinery operator71$55,640450
Airfield operations specialists71$51,376280
Public address system and other announcers72$24,440270
Pharmacy aides72$22,838560
Amusement and recreation attendants72$19,6777,770
Carpenters72$43,07718,160
Helpers--roofers72$24,98190
Home appliance repairers72$35,8591,210
Tank car, truck, and ship loaders72$45,88540
Administrative services managers73$87,2356,110
Glaziers73$46,6751,260
Bus & truck mechanics & diesel engine specialists73$41,9127,440
Coil winders, tapers, and finishers73$32,781180
Textile knitting and weaving machine setters, operators73$22,52630
Broadcast technicians74$33,862780
Personal care aides74$21,38237,870
Helpers--electricians74$23,774600
Computer, automated teller, and office machine repairers74$36,8161,890
Postmasters and mail superintendents75$76,794450
Civil engineering technicians75$49,0262,420
Tile and marble setters75$45,552750
Painters, construction and maintenance75$38,4803,880
Farm equipment mechanics and service technicians75$37,232760
Transportation attendants except flight attendants75$24,170560
Archivists76$52,499110
Fallers76$29,286150
Electric motor, power tool, and related repairers76$43,784690
Chemical equipment operators and tenders76$46,1972,480
Purchasing agents, exc. whoesale, retail & farm products77$64,45911,710
Environmental science and protection technicians,77$45,261840
Bartenders77$19,21917,640
Dishwashers77$19,19815,210
Tree trimmers and pruners77$44,3251,530
Locksmiths and safe repairers77$39,021440
Metal workers and plastic workers, all other78$43,9711,260
Medical equipment preparers78$34,8821,890
Computer operators78$39,915820
Cutting, punching & press machine setters, operators and tenders, metal and plastic78$30,95018,430
Gas plant operators78$71,365960
Shampooers79$19,406110
Postal service mail sorters, processors, and processing machine operators79$56,7843,520
Logging equipment operators79$29,224760
Floor layers, except carpet, wood, and hard tiles79$30,659280
Drywall and ceiling tile installers79$40,6851,290
Motorcycle mechanics79$30,680480
Helpers--installation, maintenance, and repair workers79$25,4182,240
Heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers79$39,66653,040
Derrick operators, oil and gas80$37,87750
Property, real estate & community assoc. mgr.81$55,1415,120
Electrical and electronics drafters81$48,693540
Electro-mechanical technicians81$64,210550
Cooks, fast food81$19,21914,110
Medical secretaries81$32,73921,150
Word processors and typists81$39,3121,850
Pressers, textile, garment, and related materials81$21,382670
Cleaning, washing, and metal pickling equipment operators81$33,176880
Nonfarm animal caretakers82$20,1346,360
Brickmasons and blockmasons82$46,4051,950
Sheet metal workers82$50,5023,480
Security and fire alarm systems installers82$46,0721,190
Refractory materials repairers, except brickmasons82$50,10740
Engine and other machine assemblers82$47,6114,850
Cooks, institution and cafeteria83$26,8328,830
Baggage porters and bellhops83$22,485800
Gaming change persons and booth cashiers83$26,894800
Paving, surfacing, and tamping equipment operators83$45,5521,220
Insulation workers, floor, ceiling, and wall83$33,384680
Structural iron and steel workers83$50,2111,450
Helpers--brickmasons, blockmasons, stonemasons, and tile and marble setters83$36,005410
Septic tank servicers and sewer pipe cleaners83$37,211930
Rolling machine setters, operators, and tenders, metal and plastic83$44,6992,690
Printing press operators83$33,3014,810
Mixing and blending machine setters, operators, and tenders83$35,8184,620
Railroad conductors and yardmasters83$57,366480
Sailors and marine oilers83$60,320220
Automotive and watercraft service attendants83$20,2593,370
Electrical and electronic engineering technicians84$54,6423,180
Parking enforcement workers84$30,118180
Security guards84$24,25324,900
Proofreaders and copy markers84$37,086340
Plasterers and stucco masons84$50,773210
Lathe & turning machine tool setters, operators, tenders, metal and plastic84$35,9012,710
Tool and die makers84$51,87512,810
Layout workers, metal and plastic84$55,016190
Tailors, dressmakers, and custom sewers84$26,2501,210
Wellhead pumpers84$43,389210
Nuclear technicians85$80,642140
Sales rep., wholesale & manufacturing, except technical and scientific products85$58,67754,300
Earth drillers, except oil and gas85$40,435610
Power plant operators85$74,2981,960
Chemical plant and system operators85$57,304840
Laborers and freight, stock, and material movers,85$26,54171,450
Veterinary assistants & lab. animal caretakers86$24,6482,490
Food servers, nonrestaurant86$22,6305,990
Real estate sales agents86$38,0022,620
Correspondence clerks86$33,07290
Executive secretaries and executive administrative assistants86$53,29011,070
Maintenance workers, machinery86$43,5761,910
Computer-controlled machine tool operators, metal and plastic86$35,27710,220
Sawing machine setters, operators, and tenders, wood86$29,5781,180
Plant and system operators, all other86$45,739190
Cutting and slicing machine setters, operators, and tenders86$31,0751,970
Farmworkers and laborers, crop, nursery, and green87$22,6102,010
Food preparation and serving related workers, all87$19,490850
Buyers and purchasing agents, farm products87$50,253440
Food preparation workers87$22,06920,530
Forest and conservation workers87$24,06630
Carpet installers87$33,9871,030
Floor sanders and finishers87$25,27210
Highway maintenance workers87$43,7843,390
Pourers and casters, metal87$33,030300
Furniture finishers87$33,696680
Parking lot attendants87$19,5102,850
Cartographers and photogrammetrists88$60,882360
Production, planning, and expediting clerks88$47,7578,020
Terrazzo workers and finishers88$39,97830
Construction laborers88$35,71422,510
Rail car repairers88$58,864230
Metal-refining furnace operators and tenders88$34,6531,020
Tool grinders, filers, and sharpeners88$38,293730
Sep., filtering, clarifying, precipitating still machine operators88$36,7331,440
Motor vehicle operators, all other89$22,5061,610
Technical writers89$66,6851,000
Medical transcriptionists89$32,9061,860
Rail-track laying & maintenance equipment operator89$52,06290
Riggers89$53,893380
Bakers89$23,1715,420
Sewing machine operators89$24,1903,290
Stationary engineers and boiler operators89$66,997820
Bus drivers, school or special client89$32,65613,420
Taxi drivers and chauffeurs89$21,9864,240
Appraisers and assessors of real estate90$50,9602,530
Medical and clinical laboratory technologists90$57,2007,090
Human resources assistants, except payroll and timekeeping90$37,5023,060
Roofers90$38,2102,660
Patternmakers, metal and plastic90$54,080300
Molders, shapers & casters, except metal & plastic90$29,7861,520
Traffic technicians90$45,96860
Transportation inspectors90$91,874310
Crane and tower operators90$59,3841,180
Pump operators, except wellhead pumpers90$39,81180
Geological and petroleum technicians91$53,269120
Medical records and health information technicians91$35,7765,240
Dining room and cafeteria attendants and bartender91$19,3868,790
Gaming and sports book writers and runners91$23,213230
Tour guides and escorts91$20,0931,100
Electrical and electronics installers & repairers,91$45,115110
Automotive body and related repairers91$47,0915,110
Mechanical door repairers91$36,608330
Food and tobacco roasting, baking, and drying machine operators91$27,165590
Extruding & drawing machine setters, operators, & tenders, metal and plastic91$32,6352,800
Multiple machine tool setters, operators, and tenders91$33,8008,080
Heat treating equipment setters, operators, and tenders91$36,3381,660
Patternmakers, wood91$50,149110
Coating, painting, and spraying machine setters, operators and tenders91$28,7463,620
Rail yard engineers, dinkey operators, & hostlers91$47,029160
Gas compressor and gas pumping station operators91$63,23230
Production workers, all other92$34,2587,510
Pharmacy technicians92$29,45312,230
Combined food preparation and serving workers, including fast food92$19,136114,410
Retail salespersons92$21,278147,440
Insurance sales agents92$48,56810,850
Loan interviewers and clerks92$35,0695,210
Office machine operators, except computer92$27,4771,390
Helpers--carpenters92$25,938560
Fence erectors92$33,051170
Plating & coating machine setters, operators & tenders92$28,8702,120
Cabinetmakers and bench carpenters92$35,1311,680
Painting, coating, and decorating workers92$34,050800
Tax examiners and collectors, and revenue agents93$70,907600
Service unit operators, oil, gas, and mining93$40,872350
Radio, cellular, and tower equipment installers an93$58,365200
Outdoor power equipment and other small engine mechanics93$31,8241,160
Fiberglass laminators and fabricators93$32,843470
Butchers and meat cutters93$28,4343,690
Forging machine setters, operators, and tenders, metal and plastic93$30,2021,380
Model makers, metal and plastic93$68,0581,190
Extruding, forming, pressing & compacting machine setters, operators and tenders93$29,1822,280
Conveyor operators and tenders93$33,821480
Industrial truck and tractor operators93$31,34616,590
Machine feeders and offbearers93$31,4501,330
Refuse and recyclable material collectors93$37,8773,790
Sales and related workers, all other94$24,5651,580
Accountants and auditors94$64,79230,510
Budget analysts94$80,538870
Paralegals and legal assistants94$48,8805,570
Cooks, short order94$20,8004,390
Waiters and waitresses94$19,17879,900
First-line supervisors of housekeeping and janitor94$34,3203,940
Hotel, motel, and resort desk clerks94$20,1555,280
Interviewers, except eligibility and loan94$33,5923,990
Couriers and messengers94$24,8772,150
Mail clerks and mail machine operators, except postal service94$27,9552,200
Agricultural inspectors94$53,726340
Cement masons and concrete finishers94$40,2484,070
Bicycle repairers94$23,899600
Coin, vending, and amusement machine servicers and repairers94$34,757860
Meat, poultry, and fish cutters and trimmers94$24,5231,330
Drilling & boring machine tool setters, oper., and tenders, metal and plastic94$45,614920
Welders, cutters, solderers, and brazers94$36,40012,080
Excavating and loading machine and dragline operators94$41,2671,120
Gaming surveillance officers & investigators95$36,546510
Landscaping and groundskeeping workers95$25,25130,840
Manicurists and pedicurists95$23,358770
Bill and account collectors95$36,9206,760
Library assistants, clerical95$20,2804,400
Postal service clerks95$56,7842,830
Weighers, measurers, checkers, and samplers, recordkeeping95$30,3891,310
Operating engineers and other construction equipment95$48,9227,070
Electrical and electronic equipment assemblers95$28,26710,020
Grind., lap., polish. & buff. mach. tool set., operators95$32,7604,680
Molding, coremaking & casting machine set., operators.95$29,05814,120
Print binding and finishing workers95$30,4931,620
Textile cutting machine setters, operators, and tenders95$27,768370
Jewelers and precious stone and metal workers95$29,682560
Adhesive bonding machine operators and tenders95$25,085290
Information and record clerks, all other96$33,7172,480
Office & administrative support workers, all other96$46,9662,290
Compensation and benefits managers96$98,384340
Surveying and mapping technicians96$39,0211,120
Cooks, restaurant96$22,27736,240
Counter attendants, cafeteria, food concession, and coffee shops96$19,21910,180
Gaming dealers96$19,2403,430
Ushers, lobby attendants, and ticket takers96$19,4483,120
Switchboard operators, including answering service96$28,3092,210
Billing and posting clerks96$35,63015,530
Receptionists and information clerks96$27,18631,230
Dispatchers, except police, fire, and ambulance96$37,1075,180
Secretaries & administrative assistants, except legale, medical and executive96$33,50959,710
Office clerks, general96$31,554102,910
Locomotive engineers96$60,549410
Assemblers and fabricators, all other97$25,2514,290
Agricultural and food science technicians97$37,586240
Hosts and hostesses, restaurant, lounge, and coffee shops97$19,01111,460
Pesticide handlers, sprayers, and applicators, vegetation97$32,406860
Motion picture projectionists97$24,856170
Cashiers97$19,69892,860
Counter and rental clerks97$23,85811,790
Real estate brokers97$70,699590
Telephone operators97$29,182320
Payroll and timekeeping clerks97$39,8943,330
Credit authorizers, checkers, and clerks97$36,109590
File clerks97$29,2662,290
Camera and photographic equipment repairers97$43,26480
Electromechanical equipment assemblers97$37,752320
Team assemblers97$32,053105,140
Prepress technician and workers97$33,9661,050
Woodworking machine setters, operators, and tenders97$26,7902,640
Crushing, grinding, & polishing machine setters, operators and tenders97$29,266570
Grinding and polishing workers, hand97$27,5181,690
Dental laboratory technicians97$36,8991,300
Ophthalmic laboratory technicians97$31,9901,070
Bridge and lock tenders97$53,581100
Claims adjusters, examiners, and investigators98$64,4595,650
Insurance appraisers, auto damage98$56,285190
Credit analysts98$50,8141,230
Radio operators98$53,31020
Parts salespersons98$31,6789,090
Models98$45,28220
Bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks98$37,14938,940
Procurement clerks98$37,8351,870
Tellers98$26,10415,550
Brokerage clerks98$46,467930
Order clerks98$34,4453,120
Shipping, receiving, and traffic clerks98$31,57421,270
Legal secretaries98$45,2195,380
Insurance claims and policy processing clerks98$39,2704,540
Milling & planing machine setters, operators, & tenders98$38,4181,150
Inspectors, testers, sorters, samplers & weighers98$31,92826,900
Packaging and filling machine operators & tenders98$27,24814,700
Etchers and engravers98$32,365350
Driver/sales workers98$20,44613,140
Insurance underwriters99$60,0291,760
Tax preparers99$31,4502,440
Title examiners, abstractors, and searchers99$40,8511,720
Library technicians99$29,3283,560
Telemarketers99$23,4004,490
New accounts clerks99$35,7551,050
Cargo and freight agents99$41,8291,670
Data entry keyers99$29,7025,040
Watch repairers99$42,82750
Sewers, hand99$24,856140
Photographic process workers and processing machine operators99$27,643630

“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.

OccupationJobs in 2016Loss since 2011Percent lossAutomation probabliityMedian annual wages
Assemblers and fabricators*4,290-16,460-79.395$34,091
Information and record clerks*2,480-3,330-57.391$33,511
Executive secretaries and administrative assistants11,070-11,020-49.986$53,290
Financial specialists, all other4,890-3,230-39.833$62,462
Chief executives6,260-4,000-391.5$160,160
Industrial engineering technicians4,790-2,820-37.13$48,318
Dining room and cafeteria attendants and bartender helpers8,790-4,550-34.191$19,386
Managers, all other8,140-3,400-29.525$92,331
Counter attendants, cafeteria, food concession, and coffee shop10,180-3,690-26.696$19,219
Business operations specialists, all other26,280-8,370-24.223$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.”

Facts matter. Trust matters. Journalism matters.

If you learned something from the story you're reading please consider supporting our work. Your donation allows us to keep our Michigan-focused reporting and analysis free and accessible to all. All donations are voluntary, but for as little as $1 you can become a member of Bridge Club and support freedom of the press in Michigan during a crucial election year.

Pay with VISA Pay with MasterCard Pay with American Express Donate now

Comment Form

Add new comment

Dear Reader: We value your thoughts and criticism on the articles, but insist on civility. Criticizing comments or ideas is welcome, but Bridge won’t tolerate comments that are false or defamatory or that demean, personally attack, spread hate or harmful stereotypes. Violating these standards could result in a ban.

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
CAPTCHA
This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.

Comments

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.