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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

33 mins ago - Technology

Facebook changes corporate name to Meta

Screen shot of CEO Mark Zuckerberg at the company's "Connect" virtual event

CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Thursday said the social media giant is renaming its company Meta.

Why it matters: The effort is meant to shift its image from a social media platform to a “metaverse” company that focuses on building virtual work and social communities.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
1 hour ago - Economy & Business

Filings show Sweetgreen isn't profitable, despite claims

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Restaurant chain Sweetgreen on Monday filed to go public, and revealed that it lost money in each year since 2014.

Why it matters: The company lied when it repeatedly told reporters it was profitable.

U.S. border cities again see low violent crime rates

Expand chart
Data: FBI, Kansas Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Census Bureau; Chart: Jared Whalen/Axios

Reported violent crime in the United States rose in 2020 for the first time in four years, but violent crime rates in 11 of the largest communities along the U.S.-Mexico border stayed below the national average, an Axios analysis found. 

Why it matters: Year after year, data showing low violent crime rates in majority-Mexican American and Mexican immigrant border communities dispels myths of the U.S.-Mexico border as a region filled with crime and chaos.