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Report Anticipates 4.6 Million New Jobs From 5G Rollout, Including 300,000 in Manufacturing

  • “Third wave” of wireless networks expected to create 4.6 million jobs by 2034
  • Jobs would be spread across a variety of sectors, unlike previous digital revolutions where employment gains were generally limited to certain professions and cities
  • Some concerns that job creation will be offset by losses as autonomous technology, augmented reality, and other innovations undercut certain industries

A research report by the National Spectrum Consortium and Progressive Policy Institute predicts that the fifth generation of wireless networks will create 4.6 million jobs by 2034. And unlike previous wireless advances, the employment benefits will not be limited to certain sectors or cities.

The report anticipates that 5G will fuel both “cognitive” and “cognitive-physical” skilled jobs in agriculture, construction, defense, transportation, and other sectors. In manufacturing, the report suggests that faster and more reliable networks will allow companies to boost competitiveness and establish 300,000 new jobs.

An estimated 106,000 jobs have already been created as of this spring due to the 5G rollout and engineering. The report says that while jobs created by previous network advances were concentrated in tech fields and larger cities, the 5G revolution will create a more diverse mix of installation and maintenance positions and benefit smaller cities as well as larger ones.

Widespread implementation of the network will not occur for five to seven years, but once 5G is established it will likely fuel a variety of unforeseen innovations just as 4G enabled the development of successful companies built around smartphone apps. However, 5G has also raised concerns that autonomous technology, augmented reality, and other advances may eliminate millions of jobs in sectors such as retail and transportation.

The National Spectrum Consortium and Progressive Policy Institute report advises that the federal government should have a plan to invest in 5G and implement the network in the United States. It also urges investment in job training, particularly STEM fields, so Americans will be qualified for newly created positions.

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