Where Robots Are Taking Over

This looks an awful lot like Trump counties…

From this NBER paper:


As robots and other computer-assisted technologies take over tasks previously performed by labor, there is increasing concern about the future of jobs and wages. We analyze the effect of the increase in industrial robot usage between 1990 and 2007 on US local labor markets. Using a model in which robots compete against human labor in the production of different tasks, we show that robots may reduce employment and wages, and that the local labor market effects of robots can be estimated by regressing the change in employment and wages on the exposure to robots in each local labor market—defined from the national penetration of robots into each industry and the local distribution of employment across industries. Using this approach, we estimate large and robust negative effects of robots on employment and wages across commuting zones. We bolster this evidence by showing that the commuting zones most exposed to robots in the post-1990 era do not exhibit any differential trends before 1990. The impact of robots is distinct from the impact of imports from China and Mexico, the decline of routine jobs, offshoring, other types of IT capital, and the total capital stock (in fact, exposure to robots is only weakly correlated with these other variables). According to our estimates, one more robot per thousand workers reduces the employment to population ratio by about 0.18-0.34 percentage points and wages by 0.25-0.5 percent.

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Seems like getting trained to work on robot maintenance is a good career path


No surprise it’s heaviest where auto manufacturing is.


BA shows lots of robots high wages and low unemployment. …An anomaly?

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Clustered in the Northeast and close to the coasts. The middle (Trump country) doesn’t have enough of them.
The analysis seems too narrow and skewed to produce a pre-determined result. Robots replace some workers but provide jobs for others. Overall they increase production volumes and decrease costs -which produces deflation which is in effect money in the pockets of consumers. It increases the value of workers because now one worker can control multiple robots and thereby be more productive. In short, the impact on the WHOLE SYSTEM needs to be evaluated and not just the impact on the specific tasks the robots perform.


One of the world’s premier makers of industrial robots - robots that make everything from iPhones to Teslas. Every once in a while when this topic comes up I check it again. Glad I never bought it. It’s gone nowhere for years while global markets rocketed higher. http://www.marketwatch.com/investing/stock/fanuy
Neither has ROBO, an ETF based on this theme.

Notice that since the recession, manufacturing output has increases much more than jobs have.

Employees are a liability. …robots do not sit around whining about their salaries and benefits…


So why has there been so little increase in productivity? If robotics is truly being adopted at a faster rate than output per person should be rising.

Nobody knows why. I think Greenspan once said productivity is everywhere except in economic data.

I’m a little skeptical that there isn’t an increase in “productivity”. People make things faster and make more of them than they did in the past.

PowerPoint. Countless hours are wasted on one of the least useful corporate activities of dumbing down info for execs. That and email where everyone’s has to be in the distribution, and people love the reply all button.



Well, of course, the policemen have better things to do…like hang out at the nearest donut shop!!!

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Wait… what’s going to prevent people from damaging these robots? They look very delicate…,

Turn off the lights (literally) @Elt1… Is nothing sacred???