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May, 2001, Vol. 124, No. 5
Employment impact of electronic businessDaniel E. Hecker
Every 2 years, the Bureau of Labor Statistics develops 10-year projections of industry and occupational employment, taking into account likely changes caused by new technologies and business practices. The 1998–2008 series of BLS projections, published in the November 1999 Monthly Labor Review, did not specifically address the effects of electronic business (e-business) on the economy, because of the recent nature of the phenomenon and the relative paucity of information pertaining to it. This article presents a first look at the extent to which e-business could affect industries and occupations over the next decade. The impacts described will be reflected, to the extent possible, in the 2000–10 projections, to be published in the November 2001 issue of the Review.
E-business, consisting of marketing and other business processes conducted over computer-mediated networks, is changing the way organizations in many industries operate. It leads to the automation of some job functions and replaces others with self-service operations, raising output per worker and dampening employment requirements in some occupations, as well as in the industries in which those occupations are concentrated. In contrast, e-business has spurred employment in industries producing hardware, software, and systems used by e-businesses and in computer and other occupations associated with websites and networks. Because of its increasing pervasiveness, e-business may be affecting output per worker and employment in virtually every industry.
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