At an International Federation of Robotics (IFR) CEO Round Table held at Automate 2013, in Chicago, IFR executives presented a recap of a new research report on the positive impact of industrial robots on employment.
The report, prepared by British market research company Metra Martech, updates a 2011 report on the same subject with three conclusions:
1. Only robots can produce precision and consistency standards at an affordable cost demanded by the global economy.
2. Although the recession has temporarily reduced attention to unsatisfactory work conditions, enhancing work conditions is a driving force for using robots.
3. Robots are a critical factor in re-balancing of world manufacturing economies by reducing the threat by low labor cost countries (off-shoring).
Based on IFR data through 2011, the report projects potential job creation by robotics between 2012 and 2020 to be 1.9 to 3.5 million jobs. This is the sum of new robotic products (.55 to 1.4 million), current industry expansion (.45 to .70) and downstream jobs (.90 to 1.4).
The report also projects an additional 2-3 million jobs from downstream activities.
The updated report, which can be downloaded here, is sufficiently transparent such that one can readily accept their position regarding projecting 2-3.5 million new jobs from 2012 to 2020.
But the report is seriously unsubstantiated in the effects of offsets for jobs displaced and in the multiplier effect of downstream jobs. Details of the review can be read here.