The recent influx of robots into American factories has had a lasting impact on employment in the United States. Each robot added to a factory decreases the workforce in the immediate area by 6.2 workers. Researchers estimate that for every one robot per thousands workers, the employment rate fell by 0.2 to 0.3 percentage points and wages also fell by 0.25 to 0.5 percent. As a result, many have come to question the helpfulness of robots within the workplace. Because robots decrease employment and wages, workers have become outraged at their effects on job security. The only positions, which has yet to suffer the decreasing in employment, are restricted to management. This is only due to the inability of robots to understand the emotional intelligence and leadership needed in the workplace. Although these trends are more widespread in blue-collar work, there were still smaller effects on employment and wages in business services and retail as well.
Robots are able to complete monotonous tasks previously assigned to humans such as welding and packaging, which are prevalent within the automobile industry. By 2033, one analysis done by PwC claims that 47% of all U.S. jobs could be automated. The report continues to argue that labor won’t disappear, but instead it will move around, with workers being forced to learn new and different skills than in the past. With the downside suffered by some blue-collar workers also comes the benefit of greater free time for workers, since robots will be able to complete tasks like cleaning that are arduous and take large amounts of time. Moreover, robots are likely to improve efficiency and quality in manufacture, which will thereby lower the cost of goods being sold and will also improve their value. These benefit will cause higher standards of living and more innovation, which would give the United States economy limitless possibilities.
It is too early to tell how the labor force will react to the augmenting number of robots in the workforce. If workers are able to adapt and improve their skillsets then it is likely that the influx of robots will be positive for almost the entire U.S. economy. However, if they are not able to adapt and evolve their skillset then there will be drastic repercussions. Bringing it back home, with the large majority of Columbia students entering white-collar jobs, the effects of robots will be less prevalent, but it still something to consider as the number of industrial robots triples over the next ten years.