Job loss fear remains high, despite tight labor market: report

Despite one of the tightest labor markets in history, employees are still increasingly worried about job loss – largely as a result of growing fears about automation and artificial intelligence in the workforce, according to a new study.

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Released on Monday by Edelman, the study revealed that there’s great pessimism about the future: Only about one-in-three people believe that their families will be better off in the next generation.

“At a macro level, people are really fearful about things like automation and artificial intelligence and whether or not for example the 20 million people employed in the retail sector in the U.S. are going to lose their jobs tomorrow,” said Stephen Kehoe, Edelman’s global head of reputation and a lead researcher for the 2019 Trust Barometer, during an interview with FOX Business.

The study revealed that 59 percent of employees believe they won’t have the necessary training and skills necessary to get a good, well-paying job, while 55 percent believe that automation will take jobs away. Meanwhile, close to two-thirds of employees -- 57 percent -- believe that trade policies and tariffs are hurting the company they work for.

“People are sort of fearful about the pace of innovation ,and technology and how it’s going to alter this,” Kehoe said, adding, “It’s also why people worry they may not have the training required for the future in all of this.”

The National Bureau of Economic Research estimates that hundreds of thousands of jobs have been sidelined by automation in the U.S. in recent decades, and in 2017, the Robotics Industries Association estimated that 250,000 robots were being used in the U.S., the third-highest in the world behind Japan and China.


A report published by McKinsey & Company last year indicated that as many as 800 million workers worldwide could be displaced by robots come 2030 -- but that some skills are more susceptible to replacement than others. For instance, machines will be likely be unable to replace humans in jobs that require managing people or any social interaction.