Companies Ordering Robot Workers at Record Numbers Over Labor Shortages

Companies Ordering Robot Workers at Record Numbers Over Labor Shortages a robot worker on display (AP)

By Sandy Fitzgerald | Saturday, 13 November 2021 02:06 PM

North American companies ordering for robotic "workers" in record numbers to alleviate the continuing labor shortage in hopes of keeping their operations competitive, according to a trade group involved in the robotic industry.

"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 the Association for Advancing Automation (A3), a trade group that represents organizations working with robotics, artificial intelligence, and other technologies, USA Today reported.

The total orders for robotic technology this year climbed to nearly 29,000, and is valued at about $1.48 billion, marking an increase of 37% over last year, A3 reported.

In the third quarter alone, North American companies placed orders for 9,928 robots, valued at $513 million, marking the third-highest quarter for orders and the fifth-highest in cost, the trade group added.

The orders come as a record number of Americans are quitting their jobs in what is being called the "Great Resignation."

The Labor Department reported Friday that Americans quit their jobs at a record pace for the second consecutive month in September, with 4.4 million people, or 3% of the nation's workforce, leaving. The number was up from August.

Meanwhile, 10.4 million job openings were reported, down from 10.6 million in August.

Many of the resignations came when new workers quit jobs to take advantage of higher pay being offered by other companies desperate for workers.

Companies are also turning to artificial intelligence to help alleviate the labor shortage, reports the Associated Press. For example, Starbucks is automating its work to track store inventory, and more retail stores are adding self-checkout registers.