Securing America's Future Energy

SAFE Commends Workforce DATA Act Introduction to Aid Shift Toward Automation

Contact: Alex Adams | 202.461.2374 |

Washington, D.C.—In response to the bipartisan introduction of the Workforce Data for Analyzing and Tracking Automation (DATA) Act, which would measure the impact of automation on the labor force in order to create effective workforce development strategies, Securing America’s Future Energy (SAFE) President and CEO Robbie Diamond made the following statement:

“The Workforce DATA Act introduced by Senator Peters and Senator Young is a proactive step towards preparing for the wide range of impacts that automation will have on the workforce. SAFE’s research has found that self-driving vehicle technology could unleash $800 billion in annual social and economic benefits by 2050. However, economic changes from this technological shift will displace some workers, and to mitigate the negative impacts we must understand the scope and nature of these changes in order to prepare the workforce for the jobs of the future.”

Building on recommendations from SAFE’s 2018 study, America’s Workforce and the Self-Driving Future, the Workforce DATA Act takes a two-fold approach to measuring the impact of automation and ensuring those measurements will inform workforce development strategies for addressing such impacts. The legislation benefited from analysis for the SAFE study conducted by Erica Groshen, the former Commissioner of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), which recommended a data-driven approach to managing the impact of automation on the workforce.

“The Workforce DATA Act can help equip policymakers with the information they need to maximize the net social and economic benefits from technologies like self-driving vehicles,” Diamond added.

If enacted, the bill would authorize the BLS—in conjunction with the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine—to record the effect of automation on the workforce and measure those trends over time, including job displacement, the number of new jobs created, and the shifting of in-demand skills.

Published in June 2018, America’s Workforce and the Self-Driving Future projects that widespread deployment of autonomous vehicles will have a muted impact on the workforce. Simulations of the impact of AVs on employment showed a range of impacts that would be felt starting in the early 2030s but would only increase the national unemployment rate by 0.06–0.13 percentage points at peak impact sometime between 2045 and 2050, before a return to full employment. By comparison, the 2008 recession increased the national unemployment rate by 4.9 percent. In addition, the SAFE study found that the total annual benefits of autonomous vehicle deployment would total $800 billion by 2050.

About Securing America’s Future Energy

Securing America’s Future Energy (SAFE) is an action-oriented, nonpartisan organization that aims to reduce America’s dependence on oil. Near-total dependence on petroleum in the transportation sector undermines the nation’s economic and national security, and constrains U.S. foreign policy. To combat these threats, SAFE advocates for expanded domestic production of U.S. oil and gas resources, continued improvements in vehicle fuel efficiency, and transportation sector innovations including electric vehicles, natural gas trucks, and autonomous vehicles. In 2006, SAFE joined with General P.X. Kelley (Ret.), 28th Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps, and Frederick W. Smith, Chairman, President, and CEO of FedEx Corporation, to form the Energy Security Leadership Council (ESLC), a group of business and former military leaders committed to reducing the United States’ dependence on oil. Today, the ESLC is co-chaired by Frederick W. Smith and General James T. Conway (Ret), 34th Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps.


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