Posted: Jan 21, 2013 7:40 AM
Updated: Jan 21, 2013 7:40 AM
The Associated Press is launching "The Great Reset," a year-long multiformat series that will explore major changes wrought by the Great Recession since it began in December 2007. The first installment next week will document the recession's profound impact on jobs that support a broad middle class in the United States, Europe and other developed countries.
Mid-skill, mid-wage jobs were decimated in the recession of 2008 and 2009, and they haven't come back during the tepid economic recovery of the past 3 years. The damage was partly cyclical as the housing bust and resulting financial crisis wiped out hundreds of thousands of jobs in construction and financial services. But a much bigger force has been at work since the recession ended, AP will document: Technology specifically powerful software that runs computers and an array of machines and devices is eliminating the need for many jobs throughout companies and across industries.
AP's analysis finds that the self-serve world we continue to build, embrace and shape for ourselves, with its ever-quicker access to information and services, is threatening whole employment categories, from secretaries to travel agents.
"We set out to learn how the labor market had changed five years after the Great Recession began and found an amazing story that will keep playing out for years," said Hal Ritter, AP global business editor. "This is one story that will affect almost everyone working today, as well as those in school."
The first three-part installment will consist of text and video stories, photos and an interactive and will be embargoed for use Jan. 23-25 and thereafter. Five additional installments will run 6-8 weeks apart into the fall.
All text stories in the first installment moved in advance on Friday, Jan.18, with abridged versions moving Monday, Jan. 21. All photos and a print graphic also moved in advance on Jan. 18.
Questions should be directed to Editor Hal Ritter at 212-621-1751 or hritter(at)ap.org.
THE GREAT RESET-DISAPPEARING JOBS
NEW YORK Middle-class jobs were the big casualty of the Great Recession, and they're not coming back as economies recover. Five years since the start of the recession, almost none of the new jobs in the U.S. are middle class. In most of Europe, middle-class jobs are still in free fall. They're being obliterated by technology, which means they're likely gone forever, a three-month AP investigation has found. And increasingly the target is the service economy, home to more than two-thirds of all workers. By Business Writers Bernard Condon and Paul Wiseman. Embargoed for use Wednesday, Jan. 23 and thereafter. With AP Photos NYBZ501-514.
GREAT RESET-HISTORY OF INNOVATION This isn't the first time technology has created turmoil in the work place. From textile machines to the horseless carriage to email, innovation has wiped out jobs for centuries. A look at breakthroughs that made the goods we buy more affordable, our lives more comfortable and our jobs more precarious. By Business Writer Bernard Condon. Embargoed for use Wednesday, Jan. 23 and thereafter. With AP photos NYBZ548-550.
AP Video: An overview of the first installment of The Great Reset.
AP Photos: A mobile-friendly photo gallery showing jobs replaced by technology.
AP Interactive: A data visualization comparing job growth in recoveries from recent recessions, and an animated video explainer on the subject.
AP Graphic: Highlights job growth data by occupation and unemployment rates by country.
AP Glance: Shows mid-wage job gains following last five recessions.
THE GREAT RESET-TECHNOLOGY'S ADVANCE
WASHINGTON The technology reshaping the global economy can sound like science fiction -- cars that drive themselves, computers that can beat "Jeopardy" champions. But these astounding new capabilities also mean machines can do work that humans have always done. Meter readers are rapidly being replaced by digital utility meters that beam data directly to the power company. Secretaries are losing their jobs to software that lets bosses set their schedules and make travel plans. From Big Data to cloud computing to smarter machines, a look at the technological factors reshaping the job market in developed countries. By Business Writers Paul Wiseman and Bernard Condon. Embargoed for use Thursday, Jan. 24 and thereafter. With AP photos NYBZ515-530.
GREAT RESET-MARTIN FORD Another entrepreneur might simply have welcomed the cost savings from replacing human labor with machines. But software developer Martin Ford whose own business needs fewer workers because of technological advances worried about what ever-smarter computers would do to the economy. The result was a book, "The Lights in the Tunnel," that predicts 75 percent unemployment by the end of the century and offers radical solutions. By Economics Writer Paul Wiseman. Embargoed for use Friday, Jan. 25 and thereafter. With AP photos NYBZ542-544.
THE GREAT RESET-FUTURE OF WORK
WASHINGTON As machines get smarter, will humans have anything left to do? A growing number of economists are beginning to worry that technology will throw most humans out of work permanently. This fear has been raised before and always proved unfounded carriage makers and blacksmiths gave way to vast numbers of auto workers, for instance. But the inexorable increase in power and sophistication of software may eventually threaten employment for everyone from pharmacists to lawyers. A look at the three scenarios experts envision for how this could play out. By Business Writers Paul Wiseman and Bernard Condon. Embargoed for use Friday, Jan. 25 and thereafter. With AP photos NYBZ531-541.
GREAT RESET-HISTORY OF PROTEST For every clever man who invents a labor-saving machine, it seems a crowd of angry men rises up to destroy it. A review of campaigns against technology, from Victorian-era workers smashing textile machines to pleas from studio musicians to radio stations to break vinyl records after one play. By Business Writer Bernard Condon. Embargoed for use Friday, Jan. 25 and thereafter. With AP photos NYBZ551-552.
GREAT RESET-LUDDITES The Luddites were textile artisans in Britain in the early 1800s who smashed the mechanized looms they feared would take their jobs. Now their name is synonymous with fuddy-duddies who won't adapt to new technology. A look at who they really were and the legacy they left behind. By Economics Writer Paul Wiseman. Embargoed for use Friday, Jan. 25 and thereafter. With AP photos BZ545-547.