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What job?

Many high-injury rate jobs that drive lots of work comp premiums and services won’t exist in ten years.  And lots of low-injury rate jobs will disappear as well.

How we prepare for this – or rather how you prepare for this – will separate the survivors from the corpses.

A bit of historical perspective; twenty-plus years ago when I worked at MetraComp, Lockheed Martin’s Fort Worth plant was a customer.  The workforce there was highly trained, averaged around 48 years old, and paid very, very well to make fighter jets.

MetraComp’s contract with LM had a big success fee baked-in.  MetraComp would be rewarded for improving disability results, and penalized – rather painfully – if future results were close to or, God forbid, below historical results.

Then the Air Force decided to stop buying new fighter jets.   The average worker had 17 years to go till retirement, was making great money, and there were zero jobs in the area that paid anything close to the hourly rate, much less provided LM’s benefits.  Add in the physical nature of the job – crawling around inside really small spaces attaching tiny parts requiring lots of repetitive movements.

The injury rate jumped, while opportunities for re-employment suddenly dried up.  MetraComp got killed.

Today, we’re looking at a future with a whole lot of Lockheed Martins.  

A robust and well-documented research project estimates almost half of US employment is at risk of disappearing.

Here’s just one industry where we’re going to see big changes.

Trucking employs 3.5 million drivers today, paid about $40k a year.  Good-paying jobs that don’t require a college degree, a rarity in today’s economy, jobs that will disappear with autonomous driving. When they do, jobs in truck stops, motels, and restaurants will dry up.  And the folks who drive the trucks and work in those truck stops, motels, and restaurants will not spend their wages in small towns, rural areas and cities.

BTW, truck driving is the most common job in 38 states…

For now, trucking is a great business.  For now.  Sure, there aren’t enough drivers today, but those jobs aren’t going to exist in 10 years.

So here’s the two questions you need to ponder.

Are you insuring/serving a thousand Lockheed Martin jet factories?

Where are you going to re-employ the truckers, hotel staff, wait staff, and mechanics? 


3 thoughts on “What job?”

  1. The Sky is Falling!!!
    Along with automated trucks, buses and cars, how about automated forklifts and bar-coded warehouses that won’t require humans? Humans are no longer “shopping” other than to go to stores and order what they pick online from their phones–should retail stores charge to let you look at their stuff before you price and order it online?
    I tell all of my clients we don’t need “human resources” if they get rid of the humans.
    I don’t see any apparent answer as we computerize and automate to get rid of jobs but still have all these annoying humans around.
    Do you have an answer? Does anyone?

  2. As shown above, technological unemployment is occuring at an accelerating rate. The good news for some vendors is that voc rehab may be on the verge of a big comeback as injured workers may require retrianing and/or job search assistance.


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Joe Paduda is the principal of Health Strategy Associates



A national consulting firm specializing in managed care for workers’ compensation, group health and auto, and health care cost containment. We serve insurers, employers and health care providers.



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