- The Brookings Metro program, led by economists Daron Acemoglu and Pascual Restrepo through the International Federation of Robotics, found that industrial robots in the U.S. are clustered in the upper Midwest to the southern corridor, which includes Michigan, Ohio, Indiana and Tennessee. San Francisco and Los Angeles each have a cluster of robots, too.
- Among metropolitan areas, Detroit has the largest concentration of robots, with 15,000 in industrial robots, or 8.5 robots per 1,000 people, according to the study. Nashville has 4.8 robots per 1,000 and Grand Rapids has 6.3 per 1,000. Louisville and Toledo have significant numbers as well.
- The Brookings Metro map also shows a concentration but lighter density of robots in the Southern New England to Mid-Atlantic corridor. The industries with the highest density of robots are auto, electronic and rubber and plastic. Robots are doing everything from painting cars to packaging products.
While robots are finding their place in U.S. factories, not all human jobs are lost. A State of Automation report recently found that automation is better at doing repetitive tasks than fast-changing, mindful tasks like those involved in healthcare and trucking. (Retail, however, could be a different story.)
Workers aren't particularly worried that they're going to lose their jobs to robots either. A 2017 Randstad Employer Brand Research study found that only 14% of respondents thought automation would replace them on the job, and 30% said automation would make their jobs better.
And while robots in a Taiwanese iPhone factory have already replaced thousand of workers (with more to come) the plant still needs workers to oversee production and conduct testing and inspections, speaking to the need to upskill the workforce. In fact, the rise of robotics could also foretell a rise in talent trained to repair and manage them.