Robots Infiltrating Growth Statistics

By Scott Andes and Mark Muro
Excerpt from Brookings

robot_arm001_16x9Robots remain an object of quizzical concern—and confusion. In early April the Third Way think tank published research by Henry Siu and Nir Jaimovich that attributes to robots and automation the fact that routinized jobs have all but vanished from the economic recovery.

New data from the International Federation of Robotics analyzed the use of industrial robots across 14 industries in 17 countries between 1993 and 2007. Overall, they conclude that the use of robots within manufacturing raised the annual growth of labor productivity and GDP by 0.36 and 0.37 percentage points, respectively. That might not seem like a lot but it represents 10 percent of total GDP growth and 16 percent of labor productivity growth. Making that even more astounding is the fact that during the study’s time period robots achieved that impact while accounting for just 2.25 percent of the total assets of the industries studied.

Also interesting is the impact automation is expected to have labor productivity. Comparing this “general purpose technology” (GPT) to others like information technology indicates growth upwards of 0.60 percent! So it seems very likely that a young robotics revolution is going to be a big, big deal.

Contribution to Annual Labor Productivity
Growth Rates by Technology


As to the implications of the trend, workers will soon be dislocated while others will be rewarded for working with the new bots. This is where industry-responsive training and courses come in – Bakersfield College’s new Baccalaureate of Applied Science in Industrial Automation will provide much-needed workforce training to Kern County’s current and future employers. Courses will prepare students for technical management careers in industries that use automation, including petroleum, manufacturing, logistics and agriculture industry sections—key industries to Kern County’s regional economic growth.

“Automation involves a very broad range of technologies including robotics and expert systems, telemetry and communications, electro-optics, cybersecurity, process measurement and control, sensors, wireless applications, systems integration, test measurement, and many, many more.”

Participants of the program can expect to find jobs from management to electronics maintenance, with high paying salaries.


2014 Jobs

Annual Openings


Median Hourly Earnings*

Operations Management 4,102 151 $52
Technicians and Technologist-related 1,490 37 $33
Sales Engineers 94 3 $44
Industrial Electronics Maintenance 282 9 $30
TOTAL 5,968
200 $46

Source: Economic Modeling Specialists Intl.

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