US: Will robots replace jobs?

28 January 2015

A vital question in the US is whether or not American manufacturing is entering a period of renaissance. The answer is both yes and no. Manufacturing employment has increased modestly, growing by a total of 201,000 during 2012 and 79,000 in 2013. 2014 has likewise shown gains so far.
However, advances in factory productivity, including growing investment in robotics, will dampen job creation. In other words, factory output can easily increase faster than factory employment. Robotics are most visible in manufacturing plants, where they can run efficiently 24/7. However, by 2025, we will see wide use of “service” robots (News Item Plunkett Research, 14 December 2014).
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