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12 Nov, 2021 12:08

Robots invading human job market in Covid-19 era

Robots invading human job market in Covid-19 era

The North American robotics market has reportedly recorded all-time high numbers, as labor shortages throughout manufacturing, transport, logistics, and essentially every sector are prompting businesses to turn to automation.

The total number of orders so far in 2021 surged to nearly 29,000 units, valued at $1.48 billion, due to robust robot sales in the third quarter, Reuters reported on Thursday. This marks an enormous increase of 37% versus the same period a year ago, according to data revealed by the Association for Advancing Automation, known as A3.

The previous peak for the same time period was reportedly recorded back in 2017, before the Covid-19 pandemic forced global economies to shut down. In the third quarter alone, North American corporations ordered 9,928 robots, valued at $513 million, up 32% and 35% respectively compared to the July-September period in 2020. This reportedly marks the third-highest quarter ever in units ordered, and the fifth-highest in value.

“Businesses just can’t find the people they need – that’s why they’re racing to automate,” said Jeff Burnstein, president of the industry group, as quoted by Reuters.

“With labor shortages throughout manufacturing, logistics, and virtually every industry, companies of all sizes are increasingly turning to robotics and automation to stay productive and competitive.”

Burnstein added that 2021 is expected to mark the biggest year ever for robotics orders in North America

Meanwhile, robots and automation have continued to spread into more industrial sectors. Carmakers have long been among the biggest purchasers of robots. In 2020, however, the combined sales to other types of businesses topped the auto sector for the first time.

The trend reportedly continued this year. In the first nine months of 2021 auto-related orders for robots grew 20% to 12,544 units, according to A3, while orders by non-automotive companies expanded 53% to 16,355.

For more stories on economy & finance visit RT's business section