Jobs in These States Are Most Likely to Be Taken Over by Robots

Robots have been something of both fear and fascination for a long time. Shows like The Jetsons depicted what life might be like in the future when we could have flying cars and robot maids to simplify our lives. The truth is, we’re much closer to having a robot workforce than you may think and certain jobs are more likely than others to be taken over by robots.

SmartAsset put together research looking at how many jobs in each state are likely to be taken over by robots. The ranking took a look at how many total jobs are in each state, and how likely different professions are to be automated. Read on to find out which states have the most jobs likely to be taken over by robots. The No. 1 state is a popular tourist destination with far too many jobs easily automated.

15. Arkansas

food processing plant
Tyson Foods is the third largest employer in the state. | agnormark/iStock/Getty Images
  • 54.44% of jobs are at risk

There are some industries that are more prone to automation than others and according to the Arkansas Economic Development Commission (AEDC), several of them are key industries in the state. The food and beverage is industry is one of them as Arkansas is home to Tyson Foods, which the AEDC notes is the third largest employer in the state, as well as several other food manufacturers. With that in mind, it should be no surprise that over 640,000 jobs are at risk of being automated in the state.

Next: A tropical paradise in danger

14. Hawaii

young couple buying souvenirs outdoor
Couple souvenir shopping | Anetlanda/iStock/Getty Images
  • 54.45% of jobs are at risk

While tourism, Hawaii’s largest industry according to the Department of Business, Economic Development & and Tourism, seems unlikely to be taken over by robots any time soon, there are several other large industries that have grown along with the tourism industry that could potentially be automated. Things like manufacturing and even the service industry are at least partially vulnerable to automation. The reality is that over 330,000 jobs are potentially at risk in Hawaii, which is considerable since it’s the eighth smallest U.S. state.

Next: A state leading the charge in automation advancement

13. Idaho

Passenger aircraft on maintenance of engine and fuselage repair in airport hangar
Autonomous aircraft are closer than you think. | aapsky/iStock/Getty Images
  • 54.60% of jobs are at risk

There’s a lot more to Idaho than potatoes. According to Idaho’s commerce website, key industries in the state include aerospace, energy, and food production. The state’s aerospace industry is actually leading the push towards automation with an Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAC) program. The state’s commerce website estimates that the Autonomous Systems industry will grow in the next 15 years to an $89 billion industry. While Idaho appears to be embracing the idea of automation, the state is at risk of losing over 360,000 jobs to robots.

Next: A midwestern state with an unlikely industry in danger

12. Oklahoma

farmer harvesting crops
We will likely see autonomous farm equipment become commonplace in the near future. | Scott Olson/Getty Images
  • 54.63% of jobs are at risk

Oklahoma’s Department of Commerce lists five major industries as the “backbone” of the state’s economy on its website. Of those five, several are industries most likely to be taken over by robots such as aerospace, transportation, and even agriculture. In fact, over 840,000 jobs in the state are at risk of being automated. While it may seem like a stretch that industries like agriculture could be in danger of becoming automated, the truth is most developments in automation can be applied to multiple industries. So advancements in autonomous vehicles could very likely lead to autonomous farm equipment.

Next: Technological advancements put workers in this state at serious risk.

11. West Virginia

Man operates forklift in a warehouse
Man operates a forklift in a warehouse | pixabay
  • 54.78% of jobs are at risk

Many of West Virginia’s key industries are ones that are susceptible to automation including fulfillment distribution, manufacturing, and aerospace. Companies like Amazon have already made significant strides in automated fulfillment facilities. In fact, CommonSense Robotics, an Israeli startup, launched its first automated fulfillment center in 2018. As more advancements in automation are made, more jobs will be at risk including over 370,000 in West Virginia.

Next: A future where your surgeon is a robot.

10. Alabama

Surgeon sitting with a surgical robot
A surgeon sits at the console of a surgical robot. | FRANCOIS GUILLOT/AFP/Getty Images
  • 54.99% of jobs are at risk

Alabama is home to many medical device companies. So many, in fact, that medical devices is one of the state’s leading industries. Healthcare is one of the major industries that is vulnerable to automation, especially as more research is performed and discoveries made. But that’s not the only place Alabama workers stand to lose jobs to robots. Other key industries include distribution and food production. All in all there are over 1 million jobs in danger of being taken over by robots.

Next: Over 6.5 million jobs are at risk in this state.

9. Texas

Manufacturing robot
A robot assembling washing machines in a factory. | Andreas Rentz/Getty Images
  • 55.01% of jobs are at risk

As the second-largest U.S. state, it makes sense that Texas would have proportionally more jobs at risk than any other state on this list. However, the actual amount is truly jaw-dropping. Texas has over 6.5 million jobs at risk of being taken over by robots. According to SmartAsset, the jobs most at risk are retail salespeople, fast food preparers, and office clerks. Texas is also a big manufacturing state, according to the Texas Economic Development website, and that’s one industry that’s very susceptible to automation.

Next: AI does a better job at processing large amounts of data in this state.

8. Florida

Finance technology tracks stock values
Man observes financial information. | Carl Court/Getty Images
  • 55.03% of jobs are at risk

While the tourism industry is certainly booming, there are many other key industries that keep the Sunshine State at work. Among those are logistics and distribution, financial services, and manufacturing, according to the Enterprise Florida website. Financial services may seem like an unlikely industry to be automated but the truth is many companies are now turning to AI technology to keep up with the increased amount of financial data. All in all, over 4.6 million jobs are at risk in Florida.

Next: Self-check might be the only option in the future.

7. Mississippi

Shoppers using self checkout stations
Shoppers using self-checkout stations. | David McNew/Getty Images
  • 55.09% of jobs are at risk

Mississippi has over 600,000 jobs at risk of being taken over by robots. Among the large number of at-risk jobs are a lot of cashiers and material movers, according to SmartAsset. Some of Missippi’s bigger industries are also vulnerable. From agribusiness and aerospace to manufacturing and healthcare, thousands of jobs stand to be taken over by robots and put Americans out of work.

Next: Over 1.1 million jobs are at risk in this state.

6. South Carolina

A robot patrols a community
A law enforcement robot patrolling a community. | ROB LEVER/AFP/Getty Images
  • 55.28% of jobs are at risk

Like many states, South Carolina’s biggest industries include some that are most vulnerable to automation. Over 1.1 million jobs are at risk in the state. There are also numerous jobs that are very low risk of being taken over by robots. SmartAsset notes that police offices and general managers are generally safe from being automated. That being said even law enforcement has a use for robots. Some agencies are employing robots to help patrol communities and it has also become more commonplace to use robots on bomb squads.

Next: The cows can come home to a robot-provided meal in this state.

5. Montana

A feeding robot pushing food towards dairy cows
A feeding robot with dairy cows | JEAN-FRANCOIS MONIER/AFP/Getty Images
  • 55.36% of jobs are at risk

Agriculture is by far one of the largest industries in Montana and also fairly susceptible to being taken over by robots, but that’s not where it ends. SmartAsset reports that other occupations like retail cashiers and salespeople in the state have at least a 90% chance of being automated. While over 250,000 jobs in the state are at risk, all hope is not lost. Trades like electricians have a low risk of becoming automated.

Next: Over 1 million jobs are at risk in this state.

4. Louisiana

A self-serve fast food kiosk
A customer using a self-serve kiosk | Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
  • 55.90% of jobs are at risk

Of the over 1 million jobs at risk in Louisiana, approximately 70,000 of them are cashier positions, according to SmartAsset.  This is not unlike many other states since cashier positions have a 97% chance of being automated in the future. If you think about it, self-checkout kiosks are not that uncommon anymore. And an increasing number of stores are installing them while simultaneously reducing the number of lanes available for real cashiers to man.

Next: A number of contsruction equipment operators could be out of a job here.

3. Wyoming

Bulldozer rests at empty lot
Bulldozer rests at empty lot |
  • 56.44% of jobs are at risk

SmartAsset estimates that over 149,000 jobs are at risk of being taken over by robots in Wyoming. Like many other states, cashiers and retail salespeople have a target on their backs but there was also a significant number of tractor trailer drivers and construction equipment operators at risk in the state. Between the aforementioned occupations that accounts for approximately 17,000 of the at-risk jobs.

Next: Self-driving tractor trailers are not out of the question.

2. South Dakota

Tractor trailer driving in the rain
A truck driving on a rainy highway. | Scott Olson/Getty Images
  • 58.49% of jobs are at risk

South Dakota comes in at No. 2 with over 240,000 jobs at risk — over 58% of the total jobs in the state. Cashiers and retail salespeople are on the front of the line with jobs most likely to be automated. There are also a significant number of truck drivers, construction equipment operators, and material movers that have a significant risk of losing their jobs to robots, according to SmartAsset.

Next: Robot bartenders could very well make an appearance in this tourist trap.

1. Nevada

Robot arms pouring a beer
Robot arms pouring beer | JOHN MACDOUGALL/AFP/Getty Images
  • 59.16% of jobs are at risk

In the No. 1 spot is Nevada with over 760,000 jobs at risk — nearly 60% of all jobs in the state, according to SmartAsset. As far as what jobs are most vulnerable, there are many of the usual suspects including cashiers, retail salespeople, and waiters. The problem for Nevada is the sheer number of those jobs in the state due to the booming tourism industry. Even gaming dealers have a high risk of being automated. Imagine Sin City completely run by robots.