Robots Kill Jobs, and So Do Companies That Don’t Automate

Robots are indeed killing jobs and depressing wages, but failing to automate is sometimes just as big of a job killer, according to a new report.

It’s kind of a catch-22. The medium-sized increase in the use of industrial robots across suburban Philadelphia in the 1990s and 2000s caused jobs and wages to fall, but companies that didn’t automate with robots also lost jobs.

That’s the assessment of a new study from MIT and Boston University cited in a Bloomberg report by Mira Rojanasakul and Peter Coy.

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The hottest spots for the expansion of robots were among the auto, plastics, chemical and pharmaceutical industries throughout Michigan and in Beaumont, Texas, and Wilmington, Del., the article explained.

And the greater the exposure to robots, the greater the loss in employment. The study also found that the vast majority of industries are increasingly more reliant on equipment in general than labor.

But not keeping up with technology has its consequences as well.

“Some of the sectors with the biggest job losses were ones that didn’t automate intensively, like textiles and paper products,” the report stated. “That goes to show that keeping out robots won’t necessarily protect your job.”

Read more of the research on industrial robots in Bloomberg here.

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