Is Your Job ‘Routine’? If So, It’s Probably Disappearing

Employees work at an assembly line in the Toyota manufacturing plant located in Chachoengsao province, east of Bangkok. Mr. Siu thinks jobs have been taken away by automation, more than by outsourcing. While some manufacturing jobs have clearly gone overseas, “it’s hard to offshore a secretary.” CHAIWAT SUBPRASOM/REUTERS

The American labor market and middle class was once built on the routine job–workers showed up at factories and offices, took their places on the assembly line or the paper-pushing chain, did the same task over and over, and then went home.

New research from Henry Siu at the University of British Columbia and Nir Jaimovich from Duke University shows just how much the world of routine work has collapsed. The economists released a paper today, published by the centrist Democratic think tank Third Way, showing that over the course of the last two recessions and recoveries, a period beginning in 2001, the economy’s job growth has come entirely from nonroutine work…

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