May 15, 2018

How the robot revolution can lead to job growth

A robotic assembly line in a Russian factory. Photo: Donat Sorokin/TASS via Getty Images

"Automation is leading to job growth in certain industries where machines take on repetitive tasks, freeing humans for more creative duties," The Wall Street Journal's William Wilkes reports.

The big question: "In which industries does automation help both employer and employee?"

The quick answer: "The companies that may have cracked the code are those that can assign repetitive, precise tasks to robots, freeing human workers to undertake creative, problem-solving duties that machines aren’t very good at."

  • Where it works: "manufacturing, the food sector and service sectors such as billing, where timetable spreadsheets can be automated, freeing up workers to do higher-value tasks."
  • "With demand for [auto parts manufacturer] Bosch ... steering controls high, the company has used automation to increase its output, leading it to hire more people to perform" tests and inspections: “We looked for 20,000 new hires last year."

A great case study ... "BMW ... automated some of the physical labor at the Spartanburg plant in South Carolina while retaining tasks involving judgment and quality control for workers":

  • "Since BMW introduced this and other automated processes over the past decade, it has more than doubled its annual car production at Spartanburg to more than 400,000."
  • "The workforce has risen from 4,200 workers to 10,000, and they handle vastly more complex autos — cars that once had 3,000 parts now have 15,000."

Go deeper

Making sense of the UN's coronavirus climate conference delay

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The scuttling of November's pivotal UN climate conference is the starkest sign yet of how coronavirus is throwing a wrench into efforts to combat global warming. But like the wider relationship between the coronavirus and climate initiatives, the ramifications are ... complicated.

Driving the news: UN officials announced Wednesday that the annual summit to be held in Glasgow, Scotland, is postponed until some unknown time next year.

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 9 a.m. ET: 952,171 — Total deaths: 48,320 — Total recoveries: 202,541Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 9 a.m. ET: 216,722 — Total deaths: 5,137 — Total recoveries: 8,672Map.
  3. Stimulus updates: Social Security recipients won't need to file a tax return to receive their checks.
  4. Jobs update: 6.6 million people filed for unemployment last week, a staggering number that eclipses the record set on March 26.
  5. Health updates: The Trump administration won't reopen enrollment for ACA marketplaces this year.
  6. National updates: The Grand Canyon closed after a resident tested positive for coronavirus.
  7. World update: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu re-entered self-quarantine after his health minister tested positive for coronavirus.
  8. What should I do? Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  9. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

Subscribe to Mike Allen's Axios AM to follow our coronavirus coverage each morning from your inbox.

The weirdest NBA draft ever

Table: Axios Visuals

The 2020 NBA draft was already shaping up to be the weirdest draft in years, and now that the coronavirus pandemic has disrupted the sports world, it could be the weirdest draft ever.

Why it matters: While most drafts have a clear hierarchy by the time April rolls around, this draft does not. There's no reliable No. 1 pick, almost every top-10 prospect has a glaring weakness and the global sports hiatus has shrouded the whole class in mystery.

Go deeperArrow39 mins ago - Sports