What Happens If Workers Become Obsolete?

Jun 29, 2015

The rapid rise in technology and machines has some experts predicting that workers could become obsolete. As Derek Thompson writes in a cover article for The Atlantic, futurists have often looked at this in a positive way — with people having more free time for leisure.

But there are of course questions of what it would mean economically, and also culturally. Thompson writes that it would bring about a great social and cultural transformation.

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The Oklahoma Employment and Security Commission reported Friday that Oklahoma's unemployment rate in March increased to 4.3 percent, up two-tenths of a percentage point from the previous month.

This marks the second consecutive month Oklahoma's unemployment rate has risen, but it still remains well below the national rate of 5.5 percent.

The commission reports about 80,000 Oklahomans were classified as unemployed last month.

Statistics show the oil and gas industry continues to shed jobs, with about 1,200 jobs lost from April to May in the mining and logging sector.

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Oklahoma lost about 500 mining industry jobs between December and January, data from the Oklahoma Employment Securities Commission show.

Almost all in-state “mining” jobs are actually in oil and gas drilling, The Journal Record‘s Sarah Terry-Cobo reports. And while the job losses haven’t yet affected the state’s unemployment rate, currently 3.9 percent, oil sector employment will likely take a big hit in the months to come, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City’s bulletin The Oklahoma Economist.

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State officials say Oklahoma's unemployment rate dipped to 4.4 percent last month.

The Oklahoma Employment Security Commission reported Friday that November's unemployment rate showed a slight decrease from October's rate of 4.5 percent. Meanwhile, the U.S. unemployment rate held steady at 5.8 percent.

Over the year, the state's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was down by 1.1 percentage points.

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The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has announced a $580,000 grant to help low-income residents in Oklahoma receive job training and find employment.

The agency announced the award Tuesday to the Oklahoma Finance Agency and housing authorities in five cities.

HUD's Family Self-Sufficiency Program funded the grant that helps public housing residents connect with existing services in their communities to improve their education or help find employment.

Richard McPherson - Executive Director, the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission
Oklahoma Employment Security Commission

Oklahoma businesses will pay less for unemployment insurance beginning January 1, members of the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission learned Tuesday.

“I estimate an additional $120 to $130 million in reduction in (unemployment insurance) tax contributions from employers in 2015,” OESC Chief Financial Officer Levi Onwuchuruba told the commissioners.

The unemployment insurance tax rate is determined by a formula set in state statutes that considers the unemployment insurance trust fund balance and the amount paid out annually in regular state unemployment benefits.

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State labor officials say unemployment rates increased last month in 72 of Oklahoma's 77 counties.

The Oklahoma Employment Security Commission on Wednesday released county and metropolitan area unemployment information.

The report shows that Latimer County in southeast Oklahoma had the highest county unemployment rate last month at 8.5 percent. McCurtain County had the second highest rate of 7.8 percent, while McIntosh County was third at 7.5 percent.

There were 326,000 first-time claims filed for unemployment insurance last week, up by 16,000 from the week before, the Employment and Training Administration reported Thursday morning.

Although the number increased, claims remained at the lower end of the range they've been in for the past year and were running at a pace close to where they were before the economy sank into its latest recession in December 2007.

The first slice of data about job growth in March offers some hope that the U.S. labor market gained some strength:

This post has been updated.

The nation's unemployment rate edged up to 6.7 percent in February from 6.6 percent the month before, but employers added more jobs than expected, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said Friday.

According to BLS, the number of jobs on public and private payrolls grew by 175,000 last month — about 25,000 more than economists had expected.