Oxford Predicts Mass Loss of Global Manufacturing Jobs by 2030

AI and robotics will kill at least 20 million jobs around the world, primarily in manufacturing plants, according to a report called “How Robots Change the World,” recently released by Oxford Economics.

Techrepublic.com reported that already 1.7 million jobs were replaced by robots, the report says, including 260,000 jobs in the US, 400,000 jobs in Europe and 550,000 jobs in China. Industrial robot numbers continue to grow and replace 8.5% of industrial jobs.

“As a result of robotization, tens of millions of jobs will be lost, especially in poorer local economies that rely on lower-skilled workers. This will therefore translate to an increase in income inequality,” the study’s authors said.

Robots will replace 20 million jobs. (credit: U.S. Navy)

A CNBC.com story points out that the number of robots replacing people will be greatest in China at more than 11 million workers. Across EU member states, almost 2 million people would lose their jobs. Cities such as London, Tokyo, Paris and Seoul are less likely to lose jobs. Some traditional manufacturing hubs could fare well.

In America, 1.9 million workers will likely be replaced, concentrated mostly in Texas, Louisiana, Indiana and Oregon.

The researchers warned against resisting the rise of automation, however.

“These findings should not lead policy-makers and other stakeholders to seek to frustrate the adoption of robot technology. Instead the challenge should be to distribute the robotics dividend more evenly by helping vulnerable workers prepare for and adapt to the upheaval it will bring,” the researchers said.

Bloomberg.com noted that job losses will occur in three employment categories: transport, construction and maintenance, and office and administration work. Developing countries and low-income areas may be hit hardest.