New Study: 6 out of 10 Modern Jobs Did Not Exist In 1940

April 2, 2024

We estimate that about six out of 10 jobs people are doing at present didn’t exist in 1940.

MIT economist David Autor’s findings in a new study surveying U.S. jobs.

Why It Matters: Drawing on U.S. census data, the new MIT study found that the majority of jobs held today have emerged since 1940. While many jobs stem from technological advancements, other jobs have sparked due to consumer demand; the study gives the example of health care service jobs that involve caring for an aging population.

Something To Consider:The real concern is for whom the new work has been created. In the first period, from 1940 to 1980, there’s a lot of work being created for people without college degrees, a lot of clerical work and production work, middle-skill work. In the latter period, it’s bifurcated, with new work for college graduates being more and more in the professions, and new work for noncollege graduates being more and more in services.” The author of the study adds, “This could change a lot. We’re in a period of potentially consequential technology transition.”

Read More: Most work is new work, long-term study of U.S. census data shows (MIT)

by Emily Hooker, based in Texas