The Rise of Manufacturing by Automation and its effects on Jobs in NEPA
Northeastern Pennsylvania - Technology has become so advanced that labor jobs have turned into automations by robotics. Manufacturing by automation has benefitted in productivity and revenue, quality control and overall improved working environment. As investments in automation continue, the results show that the United States lost nearly five million manufacturing jobs since 2000.
Northeastern Pennsylvania is not exempt from this trend. The increase of automation has contributed to the fluctuation of employment in such industries as manufacturing of textiles, steel and coal mining.
James Benson, an economist at the Boston University School of Law, sees a trend of consumer demand and automation influencing the rapid change in job growth in many industries. However Benson also connects how although automation has replaced some manufacturing jobs, it does necessarily result in a loss for the American worker.
“Everybody assumed the ATM was going to eliminate bank tellers,” Benson said. “In fact, there are more bank tellers. What happened was, just as automation made it cheaper to produce cloth, the ATM made it cheaper to operate a branch office. That meant they could open many more branch offices and compete in the marketplace. They only needed 30 percent less workers per office but the number of offices grew even faster.”
James Benson does not necessarily see jobs disappearing but new jobs that require new skills from workers. Other publics also agree.
Eric J. Esoda, president and chief executive officer of Northeastern Pennsylvania Industrial Resource Center, is another person that believes automation is in the best interest of the worker.
“The clients we’ve seen implement this technology have created new jobs as a result of its benefits,” Esoda said. These benefits can result to be lower production costs, reduced operations costs, competitive prices to increase profits, and more hiring. Esoda believes that automation can lead to new skills and more jobs.
“In order to pursue the custom product market, a manufacturer needs to bring on engineers and associates capable of making those products in a non-automated environment,” Esoda said. “By automating certain facets of the production of its base outputs, manufacturers free up associate time to work on custom products or new products. As those segments of the business expand, so too will employment.”
Industry observers see the opportunity for higher-skilled workers that seek higher paying jobs. These changes in manufacturing and other industries in result from automation will likely continue as technology advances. Jobs for carpenters, plumbers, electricians, and other similar specialty and technical-skilled positions are seen to remain in high demand.
Eric Esoda also sees the need for workers to train in high demand skills areas such as advanced manufacturing, robotics, additive manufacturing, product design, engineering, mechatronics and similar expertise.
Esoda believes that the message to workers is clear: “We have to train tomorrow’s workforce today.”
Ruff, Kathy “Automation and jobs,” Northeast Pennsylvania Business Journal. March 22, 2017, http://biz570.com/economy/automation-and-jobs-1.2161390. Web
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