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February 5 2013

Are Robots Killing Jobs or Creating Them?


Does the increasing use of production robots and other automation machinery eliminate jobs and lead to higher unemployment, or does it provide greater efficiency, boost business, and ultimately spur job growth?

Drew Greenblatt, the president of Marlin Steel, an American company that manufactures wire baskets and sheet metal products, is a strong supporter of automation and robotics as job-boosters. Greenblatt praises the way robots have helped his company grow 25 percent and increase operational safety.

Greenblatt told Inc.com that when he bought the company, which was the largest bagel basket maker in the country, in the late 1990s, “the most modern technology in the plant was a fax machine,” and the top workers could produce a basket by hand every 12 seconds. Today, robots can make five baskets per second, with precision that is “light years beyond what we were capable of before.”

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