The Employment Impact of Autonomous Vehicles

33 Pages Posted: 21 Aug 2017 Last revised: 26 Jun 2018

See all articles by David N. Beede

David N. Beede

Office of the Chief Economist, Economics and Statistics Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce

Regina Powers

Government of the United States of America - Office of the Chief Economist

Cassandra Ingram

Office of the Chief Economist, Economics and Statistics Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce

Date Written: August 11, 2017

Abstract

The expected introduction of autonomous, or “self-driving,” vehicles (AVs) promises to have a potentially profound impact on labor demand. This paper explores this potential effect by identifying the occupations most likely to be directly affected by the business adoption of autonomous vehicles.

In 2015, 15.5 million U.S. workers were employed in occupations that could be affected (to varying degrees) by the introduction of automated vehicles. This represents about one in nine workers.

We divide these occupations into “motor vehicle operators” and “other on-the-job drivers.” Motor vehicle operators are occupations for which driving vehicles to transport persons and goods is a primary activity, are more likely to be displaced by AVs than other driving-related occupations. In 2015, there were 3.8 million workers in these occupations. These workers were predominately male, older, less educated, and compensated less than the typical worker. Motor vehicle operator jobs are most concentrated in the transportation and warehousing sector.

Other on-the-job drivers use roadway motor vehicles to deliver services or to travel to work sites, such as first responders, construction trades, repair and installation, and personal home care aides. In 2015, there were 11.7 million workers in these occupations and they are mostly concentrated in construction, administrative and waste management, health care, and government. Other-on-the-job drivers may be more likely to benefit from greater productivity and better working conditions offered by AVs than motor vehicle operator occupations.

Keywords: Autonomous Vehicles, Artificial Intelligence, Workforce

JEL Classification: O33, J23, J24

Suggested Citation

Beede, David N. and Powers, Regina and Ingram, Cassandra, The Employment Impact of Autonomous Vehicles (August 11, 2017). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3022818 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3022818

David N. Beede (Contact Author)

Office of the Chief Economist, Economics and Statistics Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce ( email )

Room 4848 HCHB
Room 4858 HCHB
Washington, DC DC 20230
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HOME PAGE: http://www.esa.doc.gov

Regina Powers

Government of the United States of America - Office of the Chief Economist ( email )

Room 4848 HCHB
Washington, DC 20230
United States

Cassandra Ingram

Office of the Chief Economist, Economics and Statistics Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce ( email )

Room 4848 HCHB
Washington, DC 20230
United States

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