In the past, as technology has come around, society’s response has been to make people more educated, get them into the workforce later, and then get them a higher skilled job.
This works when the level of education that is required for a productive life has grown to the point where is it hard for many people to reach that level. It is clear that the unemployment rate for high school dropouts and people with just a high school diploma is much higher than those with a college degree (2 to 4 times higher in fact). What goes unstated is that the educational attainment of the average high school graduate is not at a 12th grade level, or even close. To give a sense of scale, on the NAEP (National Assessment of Educational Progress) an advanced 4th grader knows more than a basic 12th grader. Additionally, the average score on the NAEP is less than proficiency by a hefty margin for 12th graders.
It seems that, at least under the current educational system, there is a limit on the maximum that people can really learn, for whatever reason. It seems unreasonable to expect that people will be able to actually read, write and do math at a 12th grade level. That means that there is a limit to the jobs that many people can get. As automation moves forward, the number of jobs that people who cannot read, write and do math at a 12th grade level can do will shrink. At a certain point, the number of jobs that these people can do is will be significantly exceeded by the number of people.
As far as room for growth, I don’t think that this will become a real problem in the short term, but I don’t think that this is a problem that can be solved in the long term. While the educational situation may get somewhat better, I don’t believe that people can be educated to successively higher levels. At some point, people will not be able to be educated enough, and will be unable to get jobs.
The day is coming, the question is, what happens then?