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article image20 million factory jobs will be lost to robots by 2030

By Tim Sandle     Jun 27, 2019 in Business
There are different models to assess just how many jobs will lost to robots. The latest makes for stark reading: some 20 million manufacturing jobs could be replaced by robots globally by 2030, based on analysis by Oxford Economics.
According to the new study, each new industrial robot put into operation wipes out 1.6 manufacturing jobs. While this plays a role in boosting the economy, the net effect is a loss of paid employment for a human worker. This impact is greater for certain sectors of the economy, such as factory work as with the automotive sector, and there are regional disparities. For example, regions where greater numbers of people have lower skills, and also regions that have weaker economies and higher unemployment rates; the combined effect of this mans that these jobs are more vulnerable to the loss of jobs due to robots. The report is titled "How robots change the world: What automation really means for jobs and productivity."
The report shows how some 1.7 million manufacturing jobs have already been lost to robots since 2000. This figure is set to grow substantially and could reach 20 million lost jobs by 2030 (based on a 30 percent rise in industrial robots). Analysis of the report by the BBC indicates that the majority of these job losses will be in China, followed by the U.S. an then within Europe.
The latest findings tally with those of Oxford University researchers Michael Osborne and Carl Frey who presented data which suggested that over fifty percent of jobs in a developed economy are vulnerable in terms of humans being replaced by machines.
In contrast, other predictions are more positive about the fourth industrial revolution, or at least present a more mixed view. Analysis from the World Bank argues that new jobs are being created at the same rate as jobs are being lost to machines. But how viable are these new jobs long-term?
READ MORE: Robots aren't taking our jobs — just yet
Another factor to consider for government is that as jobs are lost to robots, the displaced workers are more likely to move to other industries which face similar risks in terms of jobs falling to automation, creating a situation where employment for the lower-paid becomes ever more precarious. Such a scenario may require alternative options to be considered, such as the idea of basic or universal income (a periodic cash payment delivered to all on an individual basis, without means test or work requirement).
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