Working Paper | August 30, 2018

How Computerized Work and Globalization Shape Human Skill Demands

As this paper is being completed, the United States labor market continues to recover from the 2000-2001 recession. Between August 2003 and August 2005, non-farm employment had grown by 3.7 million people.

This employment growth is the net outcome of two competing forces. While some occupations expand, work that can be done at less cost by computers or workers in lower wage countries continues to disappear. The result is both a changing mix of jobs and a changing mix of tasks within jobs. Our purpose in this paper is to outline these changes and their educational implications from an economist’s perspective. In sum, what education and skills are needed to earn a decent living in the labor market created by computers and globalization?