NC State Ag Economist Dr. Mike Walden – “Is the Economy Changing Faster Today?”


Mary:  I’m Mary Walden, with economist MW, welcoming you to the economic perspective.   Today’s program asks if the economy is changing faster today.  Mike, with technology, automation, and globalization all occurring at the same time, it is often stated the economy is changing faster today than ever.  But is this really the case?

Mike:  Summary Answer

  1. Great question, and one that hasn’t been well investigated until now
  2. New study focused on change in occupations – so looked at rate of occupational change – meaning the contraction of some occupations and the expansion of others – back to the 1850s
  3. Surprising result – occupational change in the 21st century has actually been the slowest of the last 160 years
  4. Change was much higher in the late 19th to early 20th century, and then again from 1950 to 1980
  5. Two periods coincide first with mechanization of agriculture and the with the automation in manufacturing and the creation of the service sector
  6. So, to those worried about occupational disruption now, gives hope that we can cope, just as we coped in the past
  7. I’m MW

Mary:  And I’m Mary Walden for N C State Extension