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Profiles - July 3, 2019

Robots will Displace 20 million Manufacturing Jobs Worldwide – Oxford Economics

Robots will displace 20 million manufacturing jobs worldwide, a new report from Oxford Economics has said.

The findings from the economic forecast company, Oxford Economics (OE), highlights that the 20 million represents 8.5% of the global manufacturing workforce and also found that on the average, 1.6 manufacturing workers are displaced from every newly installed robot.

While some industries are just about starting to experiment with automation, manufacturing jobs have long taken the forefront. China leads the charge in automating jobs: By 2030, the country will have 14 million industrial robots in use. The rest of the world, meanwhile, will have just 6 million robots in use.

Robots are growing in numbers because they are cheaper than paying people. Technological advancements have pushed down the average unit price of robots by 11% between 2011 to 2016. The US has already lost 260,000 due to automation since the turn of the century, according to the report.

The report analyzed data from the International Federation of Robots, and focused on countries that account for more than 90% of industrial robot installations: EU nations, US, Japan, South Korea, China, and more. The IFR uses survey data from robot suppliers in 50 countries tracked from 1994 to 2014.

PWC estimated roughly 7 million jobs in the UK would be displaced by 2037, McKinsey projected 800 million people worldwide would be out of a job by 2030, but OE’s findings differ in that they target how the manufacturing sector specifically would suffer.

Robots have 5 million American manufacturing jobs since 2000, accounting for a decline of nearly 30% of these jobs,

The report also has implications for manufacturing policy, as President Trump promised to bring back these jobs during his campaign. Manufacturing activity fell in the US to a two-year low in June, in part due to the ongoing trade war with China. Still, the Trump administration has been slow to acknowledge AI’s impact on the American workforce. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin once said he’s “not worried at all” about robots’ impact on employment.

“The repercussions of robotisation are interconnected and complex, but the growth in robotics is inevitable,” the OE report says. “These challenges must be embraced and addressed.”

Founded in 1981, Oxford Economics formed as a commercial venture with Oxford University’s business collective in an effort to provide economic forecasting and modeling to companies and financial institutions in the United Kingdom that were expanding abroad. Over the years, the firm has earned global recognition, becoming one of the top independent advisory firms worldwide.

The firm provides reports, forecasts and analytical tools on over 3,000 cities, 200 countries and 100 industrial sectors. Its top-notch global economic and industry models and analytical tools make it possible to forecast external market trends while making accurate assessments of their economic, social and business impact.

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