In my macroeconomics class, we talk about the types of unemployment. Here is one of them:
Structural-unemployment caused by a mismatch between the skills of job seekers and the requirements of available jobs. One example of this is when you are replaced by a machine.
It is not clear if this is the case with Walmart. Here are excerpts from the article:
"Walmart Inc. WMT +0.21% is expanding its use of robots in stores to help monitor inventory, clean floors and unload trucks, part of the retail giant’s efforts to control labor costs as it spends more to raise wages and offer new services like online grocery delivery.Related posts:
The country’s largest private employer said at least 300 stores this year will add machines that scan shelves for out-of-stock products. Autonomous floor scrubbers will be deployed in 1,500 stores to help speed up cleaning, after a test in hundreds of stores last year. And the number of conveyor belts that automatically scan and sort products as they come off trucks will more than double, to 1,200.
The company said the addition of a single machine can cut a few hours a day of work previously done by a human, or allow Walmart to allocate fewer people to complete a task, a large saving when spread around 4,600 U.S. stores. Executives said they are focused on giving workers more time to do other tasks, and on hiring in growing areas like e-commerce."
"The automatic conveyor belts cut the number of workers needed to unload trucks by half, from around eight to four workers, said executives at a company presentation last June."
"“It’s very hard for employers to get the workforce they need,” Mr. Duffy said. “None of the customers we’re working with are using our machines to reduce their labor costs; they’re using them to allow their teams, their janitorial teams, to perform higher-value tasks.”
Retailers and other companies that hire large numbers of low-skilled hourly workers are increasingly looking to automation as they face higher labor costs and aim to improve retention amid the lowest unemployment in decades."
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I wonder what those higher value tasks could be. I’m guessing they would eventually let the low skilled go in favor of the machines. Just look at the lines in Walmart now with self checkout.....it’s ridiculous.
Thanks for reading and commenting. Not sure about Walmart, but banks have more tellers than they used to. They were not replaced by ATMs. They are doing other things to give customers more personalized service
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