The robots are coming---not to replace you, but to work with you. That's according to a new report that says U.S. companies installed a record number of robots in 2018. The research from the Association for Advancing Automation found shipments of automation devices to American companies grew by 16 percent last year, for a total of nearly 28,500. Automation or "robot" shipments rose across most major sectors, led by the food and consumer goods industries with a surge of 60 percent.
The growing use of automation is generally seen as a threat to jobs, but those behind this report say fears of robots hurting jobs are overblown. "This is an indication that manufacturing is actually alive and well in the United States," says Bob Doyle with the Association for Advancing Automation. "(More automation) actually increases jobs, and it does that by making the company more productive and more successful, which allows them to grow the company, which in turn grows jobs."
Doyle argues that the jobs aren't leaving, they are just shifting with the need to develop and operate all of this new technology. "There's a great need for people in these types of jobs today, in what we call advanced manufacturing," he says. "These aren't your father or grandfather's manufacturing facilities that may have been known as dirty or not pleasant places to work...these are great places to work, and we want people to consider manufacturing and automation for their careers."