Rural Job Loss to Offshoring and Automation

  • Srikant Devaraj
  • Emily J. WornellEmail author
  • Dagney Faulk
  • Michael Hicks
Part of the National Symposium on Family Issues book series (NSFI, volume 10)


Labor market changes and resulting distributional effects in the United States have led to significant social, economic, and political turbulence over the past two decades. Wage and occupational polarization, static or declining wages, a 30% decline in manufacturing employment, and stark differences in regional outcomes provide the sense that some people and places are flourishing, but meanwhile others struggle. While trade, urbanization, and workplace automation undoubtedly yield many benefits, neither the benefits nor the potential costs are evenly distributed. In this study, we combine and extend several recent studies on offshorability risk and automation risk to examine the potential for job loss at the county level. Job loss risk is particularly high due to automation. Automation risk is geographically and socioeconomically concentrated, whereas risk due to offshoring is fairly evenly distributed. This uneven distribution of automation-related risk puts already vulnerable populations at greater risk, including those with lower levels of educational attainment and lower socioeconomic status. Additionally, the strong geographic correlation indicates that entire labor markets, particularly those in nonmetropolitan counties, are at risk for automation-related job losses in the future.


Offshoring automation risk No-fault job loss Community vulnerability automation Geographic concentration automation Socioeconomic concentration automation Family impacts automation Long-term impacts automation 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Srikant Devaraj
    • 1
  • Emily J. Wornell
    • 1
    Email author
  • Dagney Faulk
    • 1
  • Michael Hicks
    • 1
  1. 1.Ball State UniversityMuncieUSA

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