Automation has doubled in global manufacturing

Robots manufactured by Comau are pictured on the assembly line of the Fiat 500 BEV Battery Electric Vehicle, the first of its ki
Robots manufactured by Comau are pictured on the assembly line of the Fiat 500 BEV Battery Electric Vehicle, the first of its kind in Europe, during its inauguration at the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) Mirafiori plant in Turin on July 11, 2019

The use of robots in US manufacturing has more than tripled over the two decades, and has doubled in the rest of the world, replacing certain categories of worker, according to a report published Monday.

As of 2017, automation in the United States had risen to 1.8 robots for every 1,000 workers from just 0.5 recorded 22 years earlier, according to research by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.

The report found the highest prevalence of robots in the auto sector, with France in the lead, followed by the United States and Germany.

Automation has eroded the number of intermediate “middle-skill” occupations, while the share of high-skill and low-skill positions has grown, it said.

France leads the way in employing robots to build cars, using 148 robots for every 1,000 workers, compared to 136 in the United States, while Italy and Germany each use about 120, the study found.

In all manufacturing industries, the study found Germany and Italy are ahead of the United States in adopting the use of robot technology.

“France, and the average of the countries Spain, the UK and Sweden were ahead of the U.S. in the late 1990s and early 2000s but in the last decade it seems the US has overtaken these countries,” the report found.


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