Robotics rise not a job threat: ROBO Global president

The increasing presence of robotics in the U.S.  is not costing people their jobs and is instead helping workers improve their skills, according to Bill Studebaker, the president ROBO Global.

“If robots are stealing our jobs, they’re doing a pretty bad job of it,” he told FOX Business’ Stuart Varney during an interview on Thursday. “You only have to look at the subpar productivity we’ve seen since the mid-2000s and look at where the unemployment rates are.”

Although the National Bureau of Economic Research estimates that hundreds of thousands of U.S. jobs have been lost because of automation in recent decades, Studebaker said Americans have been given opportunities to shift from low-skill, industrial jobs to higher-skill positions.

“The nature of work is going to continue to evolve,” he said. “Back in 1985, 60% of our work was in manufacturing.”

In 2017, the Robotic Industries Association estimated that 250,000 robots were being used in the U.S. – the most in the world after Japan and China. Studebaker pointed to Japan as an example of a country that not only embraces automation but also maintains a historically low unemployment rate of 2.5%.

“Countries that are heavily embracing automation – like Japan has been doing for the better part of the last two decades – have benefited by doing this,” he said