Is Technology Contributing to Higher Unemployment?

This is a short article, from Executive Views that raises interesting questions that I've kicked around a bit for a the last few years. I work in banking, where we've moved from brick and mortar buildings filled with tellers, loan officers, operations teams and  a handful of managers to very small efficient teams.

This change took less than 30 years.

The primary driver is the rise of the Visa Debit Card and internet banking.  Interstate banking and Check 21, which allowed scanned checks to stand in for actual checks have certainly contributed as has the rise of Direct Deposit and Electronic funds transfer.

I've wondered aloud with co-workers, how long the traditional branches will last or if an adaptation of the business model will happen as less and less people are needed to service clients.

In all industries, the rise and the broad adoption of technology by the population means that jobs will become more and more scarce.  I can say from a first-hand perspective that there are less jobs available in banking now than there were 5 years ago.  The company that I work for is more profitable, and busier than ever before, but we simply don't need as many people to do the work as more and more of our clients use electronic resources.

One interesting note is that the few employees that we do need are increasingly required to have broader experience and will handle less specialized duties in their role.

I've heard it said that the future of our economy will include a lot more service jobs. I agree.