By the numb#rs

Posted on Nov 12, 2019 :: By the Numbers
Posted by , Insight on Manufacturing Staff Writer

The robots are coming… maybe

A report from Oxford Economics predicts robots could displace 20 million manufacturing jobs worldwide by 2030 – but Wisconsin workers are at a lower risk of losing their jobs to robots than workers in surrounding states.

Oxford Economics’ estimate is based on the continuation of several existing trends, including robots becoming cheaper than human labor, increasing robot capabilities, and increasing demand for manufactured products. Since 2000, the report estimates 1.7 million jobs have been lost to automation.

The firm also created a robot vulnerability index to measure the potential impact within different locations. Wisconsin was named a low-vulnerability state to lose jobs to robotics, while neighbors Michigan, Minnesota and Illinois were all listed as having an upper-medium to high vulnerability to lose jobs due to automation.


Manufacturing is the No. 1 contributor to Wisconsin’s economy, producing $63 billion in total output in 2018. That equals 19 percent of Wisconsin’s total GDP. And from June 2018 through August 2019, Wisconsin added 7,500 manufacturing jobs — the most in the nation.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau

Warning sign?

Manufacturing activity contracted for the second month in a row in September, falling to a level not seen in 10 years. The Institute of Supply Management’s manufacturing index dropped to 47.8 — the lowest level since June 2009. Economists attributed the contraction to the trade war with China.

Measuring output

Manufacturing production measures the output of businesses operating in the manufacturing sector. It is the most vital sector and accounts for 78 percent of total production. The biggest segments in the sector are chemicals (12 percent); food, drink and tobacco (11 percent); machinery (6 percent); fabricated metal products (6 percent); computer and electronic products(6 percent); and motor vehicles and parts(6 percent).

Source: Trading Economics