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Are robots stealing your job?

Robots, we’ve argued, are slowly taking over in the workplace. And there are plenty of anecdotal examples, such as these noodle-slicing beings from China. But sales figures also confirm that more robots are being sold than ever before.

A new CLSA report entitled ‘Robot-buying boom’ crunches data provided by the International Federation of Robotics and comes up with some impressive statistics. Like this one (our emphasis):

Global sales of industrial robots in 2011 reached the highest ever recorded, at 166,028 units (+38% YoY)… According to the same organisation, 2012 will be another record-breaking year with 9% YoY growth.

We actually hadn’t heard of IFR before, but according to the CLSA’s Morten Paulsen and Edward Bourlet it is “broadly recognised as the leading authority on global robotics market data and market research”. It also compiles data from a number of national industry organisations.

What’s striking, of course, is that the 2011 figure is 38 per cent above the previous peak in 2005. This is, note Paulsen and Bourlet…

… a clear reminder that industrial robots are a cyclical growth industry, where the cyclical peaks tend to exceed previous peaks. The 2005 peak was 22% higher than the 2000 peak.

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