Robots took more work from people than was thought

We all understand that robots are already starting to take jobs from people, but a new study shows that the level and speed of this robotization is much higher than we thought before.

Each next robot in the US economy reduces the employment of the population by 5.6 workers, and one robot per 1,000 worker-people reduces wages by 0.25-0.5%. These conclusions were arrived at by professor MTI Daron Asemoglu and professor of Boston University Pascual Restrepo. The result of their research is published in the National Bureau of Economic Research.

Asemoglu and Restrepo studied the effect that industrial robots had on local work markets from 1993 to 2007, especially those interested in fully autonomous machines that do not need a human operator, and which can be programmed to perform a variety of tasks, such as welding, painting, assembling and Packaging. The study took into account other factors affecting the US economy, such as imports from China and Mexico, the transfer of production abroad, and so on. During the period under study, the number of industrial robots increased fourfold.

“Since there are relatively few robots in the US economy, the amount of unemployment associated with them is limited (it varies from 360 000 to 670 000 jobs),” the authors write. “However, if the distribution of robots will go the next two decades in accordance with expert predictions, the consequences of this process will become much stronger and more tangible.” Researchers predict that robotics will adversely affect virtually every job, except for managers, but most of all people who are engaged in routine manual labor will suffer: workers, operators, assemblers on conveyors, machinists and transport workers.

Experts predict that by the year 2025 the number of robots in the United States will increase fourfold, for every thousand people-workers there will be 5.25 robots (now they are 1.75 per 1,000 people). This will reduce the share of employment in the total number of economically active population by 0.94 – 1.76%, and salaries as a result will go down by 1.3-2.6% over the period from 2015 to 2025. Experts calculate that during the same period, work can lose from 1.9 to 3.4 million people, and this does not even take into account the possible development of algorithms and artificial intelligence.