Automating A Recovery

By Ted Dieck | Employers Intelligence - Compensation | Oct 26, 2022

The US government is showing Americans a grim future.
There’s going to be a large group in need.
And there’s a small group with answers.  We call them engineers.
It adds up to an extraordinary opportunity for those who are allowed to fix the problems. 

Social Security released Wage Statistics for 2021.
The numbers are almost a year old, but you can see vulnerabilities, even then. 

Living On The Edge

Most Americans are just barely hanging on.
And that’s before the crunch hits. 

Take a look at Social Security’s Wage Statistics for 2021

Two-thirds of Americans make less than $55,000 per year.
Half make less than $40,000.
The US Median wage was $37,586. 

Keep in mind, these are only the people who had an income.
For everybody else, we can only guess. 

Wage growth was up 8.89%.  (Average Wage Index)

We haven’t seen pay increases like that in 40 years.
Not since the late 70’s and early 80’s. 

But those increases barely keep up with inflation at 8.2%.
[Consumer Price Index Summary:  “Over the last 12 months, the all items index increased 8.2 percent before seasonal adjustment.”  – 8:30 a.m. (ET) Thursday, October 13, 2022]  

The Median Life

If there’s such a thing as normal, you can see how tight it is…
Median wage at $37,586/year equals $3,312/month.
Median monthly home rental is now $2,002/month.  (Redfin) 

That theoretically leaves $1,300/month for… 

  • transportation
  • food
  • insurance and medical care

So, half of wage earners are just covering the basics during good times. 

What’s going to happen to this group (and everyone they support) when the government 

  • deliberately increases inflation AND 
  • causes more unemployment (to “cut demand”)? 

Engineers and Automation

Our Overlords think they can solve economic problems by cutting demand.
Normal humans would increase supply. 

If you can’t see in a dark room, would you use the room less?
Or do you turn on the light?

Automation is our best shot at increasing the supply of anything.  

The engineers that make that possible will generally benefit most of us.
They are also paid more than most of us. 

Should we call this the 80/80 rule?
80% of Americans make less than $80,000 per year. 

Oh, and serious Automation Engineers earn more than $80,000. 

Some of that comes from…  

  • Advanced skills
  • Overtime
  • Travel

All of it comes from demand, grown out of… 

  • Strong (and increasing) market pressure, coupled with a
  • Shortage of good engineers. 

Engineering firms will sometimes show me skimpy pay schedules.
[Don’t try that.  Really.]
We all know you’ll have to actually pay for a successful hire. 

What’s Driving Demand

I’ll give you a quick list of looming shortages.
(But think of this as a good thing.  We do have answers.)

If you want, you could combine this group into one immense train wreck. 

I suggest a happier attitude.
Those of us in the Automation world might as well see this as the gift that keeps on giving. 

No matter how bizarre the policy, the solution will nearly always rely on technology.
Even if tech caused the problem, tech will be asked to solve it. 

Here’s my picture of job security in tech and automation… 

Shortages were already obvious, following the absurd lockdowns blamed on COVID-19.
Supply chain failures made things worse. 

Then, our woke government launched self-inflicted damage, starting with… 

  • Fuel  (We’re living hand-to-gas tank.  Not enough production.  Reserves are empty.)
  • Food (Eliminating fertilizer will cause famines around the world.)  

Deliberately throwing people out of work will cause new levels of crisis. 

How are we going to meet the basic needs of millions of newly unemployed? 

Our open borders have attracted 4 million illegal immigrants in recent years.
(They’ll need to eat.  And where are they living?) 

We have higher levels of security threats.  (Not all illegals are friendly.) 

And crime is up, dramatically.  (No-bail communities put repeat offenders back on the street the same day they were arrested.) 

Add to that a daily assault from cybersecurity attacks.  

Increase The Supply

So, pick your problem and start working on an answer. 

The only hope of correcting these massive deficiencies involves an extraordinary level of productivity.  Yes, we need significant policy improvements.  All the same, avoiding disaster will probably employ automation at a scale that we’ve never seen.  

The better news is, security requirements will likely bring that production back home.
[BREAKING NEWS:  On OCT 07, The US Department of Commerce restricted China’s ability to “both purchase and manufacture high-end chips…”]

And that will create even more jobs.