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Here Are the Jobs Most Likely to Be Replaced by Robots, and Those That Are Safe

A new study looks at which occupations and which regions could be most impacted.
Bernd Opitz | Getty Image

The question of the role of robotics and automation in our everyday lives is one that looms large over conversations about what the workplaces and economies of the future will look like. As technology has become embedded into our lives, it’s not so much a question of if it will affect the kinds of jobs people hold, but when, where and how.

A group of researchers from Ball State University in Muncie, Ind., conducted a study to better understand which U.S. industries and regions are most susceptible to change driven by automation. They also explored why the subject is such a fraught, hot-button policy issue.

Related: Bill Gates Believes Robots That Steal Jobs Should Pay Taxes

“Since 2000, manufacturing production in the U.S. has risen more than 10 percent in inflation-adjusted terms, while manufacturing employment has declined by almost 5.5 million jobs,” the researchers noted. “Though automation and trade alone do not account for many of the changes that occurred across regions of the United States, the fortunes of manufacturing have special resonance for several reasons. First, manufacturing tends to be highly geographically concentrated, with job losses focused by location and industry. Second, manufacturing jobs have been a source of middle-class wages throughout the middle part of the 20th Century.”

The study looked at the top 25 areas that would be most affected by automation. They were highly concentrated in very specific parts of the country -- two counties in Alaska, five in Georgia, three in Virginia, two in Mississippi, two in South Carolina, one in North Carolina, four in Alabama, four in Indiana and one in Kentucky.

The researchers also did a breakdown of which jobs and which regions are most likely to be affected by automation.

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Here Are the Jobs Most Likely to Be Replaced by Robots, and Those That Are Safe

Not safe: Data entry keyers

alexisdc | Getty Images

Number of employees: 2,168,000

Annual income: $29,460

Here Are the Jobs Most Likely to Be Replaced by Robots, and Those That Are Safe

Not safe: Mathematical science occupations, all other

Hill Street Studios/Tobin Rogers | Getty Images
Number of employees: 18,000
Annual income: $66,210

Here Are the Jobs Most Likely to Be Replaced by Robots, and Those That Are Safe

Not safe: Telemarketers

Paul Bradbury | Getty Images
Number of employees: 2,379,000
Annual income: $23,530

Here Are the Jobs Most Likely to Be Replaced by Robots, and Those That Are Safe

Not safe: Insurance underwriters

PhotoAlto/Eric Audras | Getty Images
Number of employees: 1,034,000
Annual income: $65,040

Here Are the Jobs Most Likely to Be Replaced by Robots, and Those That Are Safe

Not safe: Mathematical technicians

Westend61 | Getty Images
Number of employees: 12,000
Annual income: $46,600

Here Are the Jobs Most Likely to Be Replaced by Robots, and Those That Are Safe

Not safe: Sewers, hand

Thomas Northcut | Getty Images
Number of employees: 12,000
Annual income: $23,640

Here Are the Jobs Most Likely to Be Replaced by Robots, and Those That Are Safe

Not safe: Tax preparers

Dutko | Getty Images
Number of employees: 904,000
Annual income: $36,450

Here Are the Jobs Most Likely to Be Replaced by Robots, and Those That Are Safe

Not safe: Photographic process workers and processing machine operator

Boston Globe | Getty Images

Number of employees: 288,000
Annual income: $26,590

Here Are the Jobs Most Likely to Be Replaced by Robots, and Those That Are Safe

Not safe: Library technicians

Hill Street Studios | Getty Images
Number of employees: 1,018,000
Annual income: $32,310

Here Are the Jobs Most Likely to Be Replaced by Robots, and Those That Are Safe

Not safe: Watch repairers

Rudenkoi | Getty Images
Number of employees: 27,000
Annual income: $34,750

Here Are the Jobs Most Likely to Be Replaced by Robots, and Those That Are Safe

Safe: Recreational therapists

Getty

Number of employees: 186,000
Annual income: $45,890

Here Are the Jobs Most Likely to Be Replaced by Robots, and Those That Are Safe

Safe: Emergency management directors

Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Number of employees: 105,000
Annual income: $67,330

Here Are the Jobs Most Likely to Be Replaced by Robots, and Those That Are Safe

Safe: First-line supervisors of mechanics, installers, and repairers

PeopleImages | Getty Images

Number of employees: 4,471,000
Annual income: $63,010

Here Are the Jobs Most Likely to Be Replaced by Robots, and Those That Are Safe

Safe: Mental health and substance abuse social workers

Sneksy | Getty Images

Number of employees: 1,178,000
Annual income: $42,170

Here Are the Jobs Most Likely to Be Replaced by Robots, and Those That Are Safe

Safe: Audiologists

monkeybusinessimages | Getty Images

Number of employees: 132,000
Annual income: $74,890

Here Are the Jobs Most Likely to Be Replaced by Robots, and Those That Are Safe

Safe: Occupational therapists

FatCamera | Getty Images

Number of employees: 1,146,000
Annual income: $80,150

Here Are the Jobs Most Likely to Be Replaced by Robots, and Those That Are Safe

Safe: Healthcare social workers

fotografixx | Getty Images

Number of employees: 1,601,000
Annual income: $52,380

Here Are the Jobs Most Likely to Be Replaced by Robots, and Those That Are Safe

Safe: Orthotrists and prosthetists

Westend61 | Getty Images

Number of employees: 83,000
Annual income: $64,430

Here Are the Jobs Most Likely to Be Replaced by Robots, and Those That Are Safe

Safe: Health technologists and technicians, all other

Hero Images | Getty Images

Number of employees: 1,022,000
Annual income: $41,260

Here Are the Jobs Most Likely to Be Replaced by Robots, and Those That Are Safe

Safe: Hearing aid specialists

Hoxton/Tom Merton | Getty Images

Number of employees: 59,000
Annual income: $49,600