The Elkhart-Goshen metro area is the third most likely in the country to be affected by automation, according to a new report from the Brookings Institution.
The Elkhart Truth reported that only Dalton, Ga., and Kokomo, Ind., have a higher automation potential, according to the report. Automation potential refers to the share of tasks in an occupation that could be automated with current technologies, and for the Elkhart-Goshen area, that applies to 54.6%. Indiana, at 48.7% average automation potential, is highest among states, while New York is lowest at 42.4%.
“Elkhart has been advantaged by being heavily reliant on manufacturing, and specifically recreational vehicles,” said Rachel E. Blakeman, community research institute director at Purdue University Fort Wayne.
“And RVs have been one of the most labor-intensive vehicles, because it’s not automated in the same way as, say, assembly of pickup trucks here in Fort Wayne is. But those days may not last forever and are likely not to,” she said.
What used to be done by hand is likely to be done by machine in the future. But the report said that does not necessarily mean machines replacing people’s jobs, just taking over routine tasks.