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Automation leading to job growth in electronics industry

An updated study shows robots boosted job growth in the electronics industry from 2008 to 2011. The International Federation of Robotics (IFR) credits automation for creating up to 80,000 jobs in the electronics sector.

The IFR report is based on an updated 2013 study by research firm Metra Martech. The study concluded that for every robot deployed, 3.6 jobs are created. By 2016 robotics is expected to account for an additional 110,000 electronics jobs across the globe.

Automation is usually blamed for pushing people out of jobs but small businesses and mid-size companies across the country have discovered ways to grow after they implement an automation strategy.

Businesses that made products for one company find that robots are able to manufacture similar products for customers in different industries. Some companies have discovered that production errors fall drastically and the improved quality with reduced waste leads to higher sales and expanded operations. Both scenarios lead to more people being hired.

Automation allows products to be manufactured to greater levels of precision than what is possible by hand and humans can't perform repetitive jobs like labeling thousands of bottles per hour and testing millions of pharmaceuticals per week as quickly as robots.

IFR noted that the worldwide consumer demand for smartphones, computers, video game consoles, and a new generation of high-tech electronics depends on robotic automation.

Around the world, at least 2.1 million jobs in this sector depend on robotics. Countries that once won bids and built economies with low-cost electronics assembly, such as China, will need to deploy more robotics to remain competitive. Automation is enabling companies located in North America and Europe to reshore manufacturing operations and reduce host countries' trade deficits.

The sale of robotics equipment continues increasing. IFR reports in 2013, there were about 179,000 industrial robots sold worldwide, an all-time high and 12 percent more than in 2012.

Click here for the International Federation of Robotics website.

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