Industrial automation is more likely to create new jobs in Mexico than increase unemployment, says the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) in a new report.
The study, which is centered on new technologies that threaten jobs across the world, has found that manufacturers who increase efficiency with robotics tend to expand their operations, leading to the generation of more jobs.
“The increased use of robots in Mexico has also been associated with expanding employment,” the report noted.
The automotive sector, which implements robotics on a wide scale, accounts for 20% of Mexico’s manufacturing jobs, while the electronics industry, which accounts for 12% of manufacturing jobs, is also a heavy user of the tech.
“For some countries, employment could remain stable or even increase if the additional supply that results from automation based productivity growth is absorbed through increased demand from exports,” said the report with reference to Mexico and Germany.
In the automotive sector, robot density increased from 121 robots per 10,000 employees in 2011 to 513 robots per 10,000 employees in 2015, with this sector’s output growth vastly exceeding that of the manufacturing sector as a whole, the report noted.
Even so, it is almost certain that automation will lead to a decline in wages. The UN agency says it found a slight decline in wages in Mexico’s highly automated sectors.
Mexico accounts for the bulk of Latin America’s industrial robotics deployment, having registered a large increase in the stock of industrial robots over the past few years.