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Manufacturing Industrial Robotic Equipment

The Census Bureau views collection of data on advanced technologies including robotics as part of its mission to measure the nation’s economy.  Recent dramatic increases in the technical capabilities of robotics as well as falling costs have led to potentially increasing diffusion across the economy. However, there are no official statistics for establishments on how and when robotics contribute to productivity, the conditions under which they complement or substitute for labor, or how they shape regional economies.

To meet this need, three questions were added to the Annual Survey of Manufactures (ASM) as a Special Inquiry to collect the total number of industrial robots in operation at the plant, the number of robots purchased during the reference year, and the capital expenditures for new and used industrial robotic equipment.

These data items were collected from employer businesses at the establishment level and tabulated using the 2017 North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) code assigned to the establishment based on primary business activity. This experimental data release is comprised of only establishments included in the mailed portion of the ASM. Nonmails are comprised of very small single unit establishments.

This experimental product provides data from the 2018 ASM on the ‘presence of robots’ defined by establishments that have either active robots at the plant, capital expenditures on robotic equipment, or purchases of robots.

The new ASM robotics tables and figures provide national and state level estimates of ‘share of plants with robots’ and ‘share of workers exposed to robots’ by 2-digit NAICS sector and 3-digit NAICS sub-sector as well as plant size distributional statistics.

This experimental data product is subject to disclosure avoidance thresholds and may not meet some of the Census Bureau’s statistical quality standards.

Planned Items for Dissemination

  • Data tables
  • Figures

Anticipated Quality

2018 ASM

Unit Response Rate: 56%

Total Quantity Response Rate: 60% for value of shipments and 69% for total payroll

Initial Release Date

March 11, 2021

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