The Metro program has followed the lead of economists Daron Acemoglu and Pascual Restrepo who, in a recent paper, deployed sales data from International Federation for Robotics (IFR) to explore trends in the installation of robots in U.S. and international work places. Although Acemoglu and Restrepo’s paper has been controversial in its modeling of large negative effects of robots on employment and wages, the underlying robot data appear sound, so we use them to measure the penetration of robots into American industries and then into U.S. metropolitan areas (Acemoglu and Restrepo did this for commuting zones).
Here, then, is what the data show:
Robots, it turns out, are congregating densely in some places but are hardly found in others. Specifically, the map makes clear that while industrial robots are by no means everywhere, they are clustered heavily in a short list of Midwestern and Southern manufacturing states, especially the upper Midwest.