Aug 8, 2020 - Economy

Jobs of the future aren't exempt from the pandemic recession

An illustration of classifieds

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

The wave of unemployment connected to the pandemic even includes jobs that had been set to grow in a more digitally enabled future.

The big picture: The pandemic has accelerated shifts in the job market that will prioritize digital skills of all kinds. But the sheer job destruction of the past few months is so great that even the best-prepared fields haven't escaped losses.

Driving the news: Friday's monthly jobs report found the U.S. added 1.8 million new jobs in July, with the unemployment rate dropping to 10.2%.

  • Those figures represent a recovery, but one that has slowed significantly from June as the coronavirus reasserted itself, Axios' Courtenay Brown writes.

Many of the lost jobs include what the consulting firm Cognizant has termed "jobs of the future" — occupations that require the digital technology skills that are expected to increasingly be in demand.

  • In its Jobs of the Future Index for the second quarter of 2020, the full extent of what Cognizant's Robert Brown calls the "blast radius" of the pandemic is clear.
  • The index, which measures demand for jobs of the future, fell 28.2% from the first quarter of 2020 and 3.1% year on year.
  • Perhaps unsurprisingly in the midst of double-digit unemployment, the occupation in the index that showed the single biggest loss was Career Counselor, down 44% year on year.

Yes, but: The index did show some occupations were resistant to losses even during the worst of the pandemic, while others should be poised to grow post-COVID-19.

  • Physicians increased the most year on year, at 189%, followed closely by personal health aide — especially vital at a moment when group nursing homes no longer seem safe.
  • IT and cybersecurity also showed major growth, reflective of the need for employees who can keep remote work working.

What they're saying: Ultimately, says Brown, "COVID-19 puts more fuel in the tank for automation." That means that many of the jobs disappearing now may never return.

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