- Jonathan Poyer
ROBOT ORDERS JUMP AS LABOR SHORTAGES AND INFLATION IMPACT ECONOMY
North American companies started the year by purchasing the most robots ever in a single quarter, with 11,595 robots sold at a value of $646 million, according to the Association for Advancing Automation (A3). These Q1 numbers represent growth of 28% and 43% respectively over the first quarter of 2021 and 7% and 25% respectively over the previous best quarter, Q4 of 2021, A3 explained. Each industry segment experienced double-digit growth over the same quarter of 2021.
A3 is gearing up for its annual conference, “Automate”, from June 6-9 in Detroit: Free Registration
Q1 2022 marks the seventh out of the last nine quarters where non-automotive customers have ordered more robots than automotive customers. Non-automotive customers ordered 6,122 units in the first quarter, compared to 5,476 ordered by automotive-related customers. Unit sales to automotive OEMs were up 15% while orders from automotive component companies were up 22%. Unit sales to non-automotive industries saw the following increases in Q1 over the same period of 2021:
Metals: up 40%
Plastics and Rubber: up 29%
Semiconductors and Electronics/Photonics: up 23%
Food and Consumer Goods: up 21
%Life Sciences/Pharma/Biomed: up 14%
All other Industries: up 56%
Forecasts expect continue pressure on labor markets, CPI, and PPI. Expect more robotics and automation investment to help meet supply and demand pressures.
A major source of the trend is the difficulty companies are having in finding people due to a lack of qualified candidates. According to Department of Labor data, there are currently 11.4 million job openings in the United States. At the same time, the Congressional Budget Office projects inflation to remain elevated with CBO forecasts expected to fall back to the Fed’s 2% target in 2024.
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