(TNS) - Concerns that robotics, automation and artificial intelligence will displace entire job categories are on the rise. But what occupations have actually fallen in and out of favor in Colorado this decade?
For example, the number of survey researchers in Colorado has dropped by four-fifths since 2009, while the number of cellular tower workers is up eight-fold, according to an analysis from CommercialCafé and Yardi Systems.
“Most of the mundane tasks previously done by researchers ? like data scrubbing, localizing questions for different countries and programming surveys ? have been taken over by machines, leaving more time to focus on data interpretation and communication of the results,” said Diana Sabau, author of the analysis.
In 2009, Colorado had 270 survey researchers. Last year, that count was down to 50.
Floyd Ciruli, a leading political pollster in the state with Ciruli Associates, said local media outlets don’t conduct the polls they once did and industry consolidation has taken survey jobs out of state.
“All the calling we do is with out-of-state vendors,” said Ciruli.
Paper is definitely out of vogue. Jobs operating machinery that make paper goods are down 80% in Colorado, from 800 to 160. Prepress workers are down 35%, from 600 to 390, while the number of reporters and correspondents in the state is down from 920 to 570 since 2009, a 38% decline.
Even photographers haven’t been spared. There were 1,120 employed in the state in 2009. Last year, there were 750, a third fewer.
The shift to handling more tasks online is putting downward pressure on several job categories. New accounts clerks, the people who help customers set up accounts at banks, fell 77%, from 1,410 to 330.
In raw numbers, administrative and secretarial positions suffered the biggest decline. Those dropped from 30,200 to 10,680 in Colorado, a 65% decline.
Although technology is displacing jobs, that doesn’t mean all technology jobs are on the rise. The number of computer operators employed in the state is down 78%, from 1,390 to 310, while the number of computer programmers has fallen from 1,390 to 310, a 78% decline, according to the Yardi analysis.
Even the number of software developers has dropped 12%, from 16,400 to 11,170. Although technology boosts productivity, the sector itself is becoming more efficient.
If software developers aren’t safe, which occupations have seen the most growth? Besides cell tower workers, biomedical engineers, epidemiologists, iron and rebar workers and tree trimmers saw big increases in their Colorado employment counts this decade.
The number of people working on radio and cellular towers in the state went from 70 to 570, while the number of epidemiologists rose from 50 to 350, according to Yardi.
Sabau said the greater reliance on mobile devices and wireless technology is boosting the need for workers in that field. And that should continue as wireless providers roll out the next generation of faster service called 5G.
And while survey researchers are down, the number of statisticians in the state has risen from 270 in 2009 to 1,080 last year, while the number of economists went from 90 to 220.
Some of the hiring reflects larger social trends, like all those nail salons popping up in strip malls. The number of manicurists and pedicurists on the payroll in the state has more than tripled since 2009, from 520 to 1,600.
Coloradans are eating out more, which has pushed the number of food prep jobs from 500 in 2009 to 1,850 in 2018, a 270% increase. And tour and travel guide employment rose from 560 to 1,670 in Colorado.
An aging population also appears to be driving demand in more occupations. Massage therapists are up big, from 1,770 in 2009 to 5,270 last year, while the number of personal care aides has nearly tripped over the past decade, from 9,280 to 27,310. And the number of physical therapy assistants rose from 600 to 1,470.
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