Robots creating more skilled job opportunities in the United States

by Ray Clancy on November 17, 2015

There is a widespread perception that the increasing use of robots in industry will result in fewer jobs but new research shows that it has the opposite effect in the United States.

The US is a popular country for expats and more job creation could lead to further opportunities for people to move there for work, especially in skilled positions.

111615-robotA report from the Association for Advancing Automation (A3), using data from the US Bureau of Labour Statistics and a wide range of manufacturing firms, found that robots perform the dull and dirty jobs, creating more jobs for skilled people.

The research shows that during the non-recessionary periods of 1996 to 2000, then 2002 to 2007 and 2010 to 2014 general employment and robot shipments both increased. Since 2010, the robotics industry in the United States has grown substantially.

Even during this period of record breaking robot sales, US employment increased. This new data is in stark contrast to media coverage and a perception that increasing use of robots causes higher rates of unemployment in the U.S.

‘We are seeing concrete shifts in the factors that resulted in cuts to the US manufacturing work force over the past few decades. Manufacturing automation increasingly provides the flexibility in the variety of tasks robots perform to drive improvements in overall product quality and time to market,’ said Jeff Burnstein, president of A3.

‘One of the biggest challenges we now face is closing the skills gap to fill jobs. Robots are optimising production more than ever, increasing global competitiveness, and performing dull, dirty and dangerous tasks that enable companies to create higher skilled, better paying, and safer jobs where people use their brains, not their brawn,’ he explained.

As companies seek to bring manufacturing operations stateside while remaining cost competitive, they continue to turn to automation to help lead the new wave of productivity and job growth in the US.

‘The whole premise for our company is to bring manufacturing back to this country, and our new robot fits perfectly with that master plan. Our robot not only makes it possible to increase production speed without buying additional CNC machines, but also helped us open up 30 percent more capacity on existing machinery,’ said Geoff Escalette, chief executive officer of faucet maker RSS Manufacturing & Phylrich in Costa Mesa, California.

Robotics also helps companies stay competitive when seeking new talent, particularly those who are interested in long lasting careers working with technology.

‘It’s really an opportunity for us to grow. Because we have robotics and are able to compete on a global scale, it makes the US more competitive in manufacturing, and that’s good for all of us,’ explained Matt Tyler, president and chief executive officer of Vickers Engineering, a contract precision engineering manufacturer in Michigan.

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