Friday, August 16, 2019

Occupations Affected by Autonomous Vehicle Adoption in Oregon

In 2018, HB 4063 established the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) as the lead agency for automated vehicle (AV) policy in the state. HB 4063 also requires ODOT to convene and facilitate a Task Force on Autonomous Vehicles. For one part of the Task Force's work, we provided a labor market information summary related to occupations most likely to see workforce reductions associated with autonomous vehicle adoption over the next 20 to 30 years in Oregon.

A 2017 paper from economists in the U.S. Department of Commerce Economics and Statistics Administration identifies primary driving and other on-the-job driving-related (or “secondary”) occupations most likely to be affected by AV adoption in the U.S. Primary driving occupations include light and heavy-duty drivers, whose primary responsibilities include driving cars, vans, small trucks or heavy-duty commercial vehicles on the road. Secondary occupations include those where driving is not the primary responsibility, but often required, and some jobs could be eliminated by AVs.

Estimates from the Oregon Employment Department’s long-term occupational projections show nearly 95,000 jobs statewide in AV-affected occupations in 2017. That accounts for 5 percent of all employment, with 56,000 jobs across the eight primary driving occupations, and 39,000 jobs in the 14 secondary AV-affected occupations. Oregon’s primary driving occupations and secondary AV-affected occupations will still account for 5 percent of total employment with 104,000 jobs in 2027.

A 2018 report prepared by Groshen, Helper, MacDuffe, and Carson for Securing America’s Future Energy (SAFE) outlines a framework for determining the shares of jobs in primary driving and secondary AV-affected occupations under four different autonomous vehicle adoption scenarios. We paired shares of affected jobs different combinations of the faster (fleet use and quicker adoption) and slower (personal AV ownership and longer time to adopt) household and commercial AV adoption scenarios with Oregon data to estimate AV-related impacts statewide between 2027 and the 2040s. Over this period, we estimate between 41,500 and 47,200 jobs in primary driving and secondary occupations will be affected by mainstream AV adoption. 

There are other considerations beyond jobs lost in primary driving and secondary affected occupations. The mainstream adoption of autonomous vehicles will also create new jobs and entirely new occupations in transportation, in supplier and support activities related to AVs, and in other areas of the economy. Future research efforts can more fully capture workforce effects by including an analysis of new and emerging occupations related to autonomous vehicles.

In addition, we currently only have the capacity to discuss net employment changes beyond 2027. Yet net employment growth accounts for approximately one-tenth of total job openings. We expect autonomous vehicles to disrupt the pattern of replacement job openings, which account for the bulk of total openings. We currently lack a framework to quantify that change.

Read the full report, written by Senior Economic Analyst Gail Kiles Krumenauer, here. 

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