Automation, COVID-19, and Labor Markets
The adoption of new technologies and robotic systems can help firms to overcome more quickly the negative effects of the pandemic shock while keeping their workforce safe.
Rapid technological progress poses challenges for labor markets. Automation can both displace and create jobs. Currently, an unprecedented digitalization of our economy is underway. Artificial intelligence has become a reality and machines are able to learn how to outperform humans in some cognitive tasks. This ongoing technological transformation of work can interact with the COVID-19 pandemic shock resulting in fewer jobs for the less-educated and low-skilled workers as well as further decline in the labor share of national income. We review the impact of automation and artificial intelligence on work and discuss the long-run effects of the pandemic crisis on the workforce. We also present some thoughts on how the challenges ahead should be addressed through a multidimensional policy response.
WORKING PAPER NO: 1229