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A Record Number of Robots Were Put to Work in the U.S. in 2018

Robots really are starting to take your jobs—kind of.

North American companies took on robots in unprecedented numbers last year, according to a new report from the Robotic Industries Association.

The organization’s data shows that 35,880 robots were shipped across North America in 2018, a 7% increase from the year prior. Every industry saw a marked increase in robot use, with the exception of automotive companies.

Looking at the U.S. specifically, robot shipments increased 15% overall, up to 28,478 and marking a record number of robot shipments in the country. Food and consumer goods companies increased their robot acquisition by 60%. Shipments to semiconductor and electronics plants were up 50%, while shipments to metal producers were up 13%.

The only exception was the automotive industry. Robot shipments to car makers in the U.S. dropped 30% last year. Across North America shipments to car makers dropped 12%. The automotive industry accounted for just 53% of overall robot shipments in 2018, its lowest share since 2010.