By MATT O’BRIEN and PAUL WISEMAN
AP Business Writers
The pandemic didn’t just threaten Americans’ health when it slammed the U.S. in 2020. It may also have created a long-term threat to many of their jobs. Faced with worker shortages and higher labor costs, companies are starting to automate service sector jobs that economists once considered safe because they provided customers with human contact. Past experience suggests that such automation waves eventually create more jobs than they destroy, but in the meantime the growing pains for the U.S. economy could be severe.