The employment outlook for African Americans will "worsen dramatically" as automation upends the workforce, according to a new McKinsey report provided first to Axios.
Why it matters: By 2030, African American workers stand to lose hundreds of thousands of jobs as a result of increased automation, widening the racial wealth gap and weighing down overall U.S. growth.
- The problem will be particularly acute for men, younger workers between 18–35, and those without a college degree, according to the report from Kelemwork Cook, Duwain Pinder, Shelley Stewart III, Amaka Uchegbu and Jason Wright.
The cost: Researchers have projected that closing the racial wealth gap could net the U.S. economy between $1.1 trillion and $1.5 trillion by 2028.
- The additional loss of jobs and buying power from African Americans could mean further opportunity cost losses.
Between the lines: Researchers found "more than 200 counties, largely concentrated in the US Southeast and Midwest, where a decline in African American net job growth could occur alongside an increase in job growth for white employees."
Details: African American workers are at risk of exceptional job losses for 3 key reasons.
- They are overrepresented in “support roles that are most likely to be affected by automation, such as truck drivers, food service workers, and office clerks."
- They have an unemployment rate that is double white workers, "even when controlling for education, duration of unemployment, and the cause of unemployment."
- They are underrepresented in 5 of the 6 parts of the country projected to grow the fastest and overrepresented in parts of the country that are on pace to see the slowest growth.
"African Americans in these distressed areas may disproportionately feel the negative effects of impending economic and technological changes, see fewer new opportunities, and face additional challenges in transitioning to the economy of the future," the report finds.
The bottom line: "These trends, if not addressed, could have a significant negative effect on the income generation, wealth, and stability of African American families."