In some sectors, technology has quite clearly cost jobs, but Stewart and his colleagues question whether they are really jobs we would want to hold on to. Technology directly substitutes human muscle power and, in so doing, raises productivity and shrinks employment. “In the UK the fi rst sector to feel this effect on any scale was agriculture,” says the study. In 1871, 6.6% of the workforce of England and Wales were classifi ed as agricultural labourers. Today that has fallen to 0.2%, a 95% decline in numbers. The census data also provide an insight into the impact on jobs in a once-large, but now almost forgotten, sector. In 1901, in a population in England and Wales of 32.5 million, 200,000 people were engaged in washing clothes. By 2011, with a population of 56.1 million just 35,000 people worked in the sector. “A collision of technologies, indoor plumbing, electricity and the affordable automatic washing machine have all but put paid to large laundries and the drudgery of hand-washing,” says the report.