08 January 2020

Why Automating Truck Drivers' Jobs Could be Good News

I've heard and read concern about the millions of truck drivers who could lose their jobs to self-driving trucks.

Here are two reasons why I don't think it's a big deal. It might even be a positive.
1. Every year the American economy destroys nearly 30 million jobs and creates about 28 million. It is a very dynamic economy.
There are currently about 3.5 million truck drivers. Let's assume that they are ALL gone in a decade. (That strikes me as wildly optimistic or pessimistic, depending on your perspective.) All gone in a decade means that every year 350,000 lose their jobs. That sounds like a lot. You know what percentage of jobs destroyed that is? Just over 1%. It's a dynamic economy. We can create new jobs for them. Our economic health is never defined by the number of jobs we destroy; it is defined by the number of jobs we create.
2. What kind of jobs will be lost? Dangerous ones.
Across the American workforce, per 100,000 workers, there are 3.5 fatalities a year on the job.
Transportation workers? About 15 to 16. Truck drivers are more than 4X as likely to die on the job as the average worker and twice as likely as police officers or fire fighters. In most jobs they'll be safer.

Data on how dangerous jobs are here:

Data on how many jobs are destroyed and created each quarter are here:

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