I know that job creators are all the rage these days, but I thought I'd just point out that my line of work consists of destroying jobs.
I help small businesses install and maintain computer systems. The reason people hire me is basically for two reasons: speed and cost savings. And the biggest cost savings are in personnel not needed because of automation.
Computer systems provide two big advantages to businesses: increased speed and reduced headcount. Increased speed mostly in reporting and retrieval; information entry and document creation aren't really much faster in automated systems than in non-automated systems, but editing, information recall and reporting is orders of magnitudes faster. This is apparent in accounting, where armies of accountants and bookkeepers used to track job costs, balance the books and generate reports. Most small companies require far fewer accountants and bookkeepers than they used to, or those personnel can do additional tasks because so much time has been freed up. Adding sensors to manufacturing and distribution procedures has similarly reduced full time equivalent employees (FTEs) dramatically in those types of companies.
I've seen the results, even small businesses typically required at least a few bookkeepers and an accountant when I started out in the early 80s (and that was after the first round of automation had already occurred for larger businesses), most can now get by with one full or part time bookkeeper/accountant. I should also explain the differential involved, a typical installation that nets me $5000 in consulting fees will eliminate or avoid at least 2 FTEs for a company. Accounting installations have an even higher ratio. So I'm trading out > $100K in employee salaries for less than one months salary for me.
These changes have occurred in many fields. How many draftsmen do engineering and architectural firms employ now? Very few, where there were armies of them in the 40s and 50s. The generation and revising of blueprints was an entire sub-industry at one time (I know, I had a job delivering them in the 70s). Travel agents. Stockbrokers. Copy boys. Mailrooms. All greatly reduced or gone now.
Looking back over my career I'd guess I've eliminated hundreds if not thousands of jobs. So is what I do a benefit or a detriment to society?