Automation in retail may be creating jobs

Some consider automation to be a force resulting in the elimination of individual jobs. However, recent data suggests that may not be the whole truth.

According to a study conducted by the Progressive Policy Institute, order fulfillment centers, which are essential to the operation of e-commerce companies, created 400,000 jobs between December 2007 and June 2017. During that same period of time, brick-and-mortar retail businesses lost 140,000 jobs. 

As such, one can conclude that while automation and e-commerce have caused job losses, these forces have also brought about certain positive economic trends. PPI's researchers found out that on average, positions at these fulfillment centers pay 31 percent more than similar work at physical retail locations in the same areas. 

Also, while the job losses that have occurred within the realm of brick-and-mortar shops are significant, e-commerce still only represents less than 9 percent of total retail sales as of 2017, meaning that physical stores are still important to consumers and thus require staff.

Technology Review stated that it's entirely possible that trends of this nature continue in the near future, and that further automation may still facilitate job creation in other ways, but that there must be close oversight and carefully made decisions regarding these matters. 

Automation in retail may be creating jobs