North American robot orders are at an all-time high as the U.S. economy struggles to cope with a labour shortage caused by the pandemic.
According to data from the Association for Advancing Automation (A3) – a trade group representing organizations involved in robotics, AI and other tech – the total number or orders this year reached nearly 29,000, with a value of $1.48 billion.
According to the trade group, orders have increased by 37% compared with a year earlier.
“With labor shortages throughout manufacturing, logistics and virtually every industry, companies of all sizes are increasingly turning to robotics and automation to stay productive and competitive,” said Jeff Burnstein, president of A3, in a statement.
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According to A3.com, North American businesses ordered 9,928 robotics in the third quarter valued at $513million. This is the fifth-highest value and third-highest order ever.
The Great Resignation saw record numbers of Americans leaving their jobs in this year’s Great Resignation to pursue better compensation.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics Job Openings and Labor Turnover survey, a record high 4.4 million Americans quit their jobs in September. According to the BLS, 10.4 million jobs were available in the U.S. at September’s end.
Companies have also been able to address labor shortages through artificial intelligence. Starbucks, for example, automates inventory tracking and more stores offer self-checkout.
The increased automation trend could put millions of U.S. workers at risk. McKinsey Global Institute’s 2017 report stated that automation could result in the destruction of up to 73 million U.S. job opportunities by 2030.
USA TODAY’s Nathan Bomey, Paul Davidson and The Associated Press contributed their voices to this report. Follow Brett Molina via Twitter @brettmolina23.