Robots are the most efficient workers in the world. Moreover, they do not complain about hours worked, ask for raises, or seek collective bargaining agreements.

Nonetheless, In Japan, Machines for Work and Play Are Idle .

Japan’s legions of robots, the world’s largest fleet of mechanized workers, are being idled as the country suffers its deepest recession in more than a generation as consumers worldwide cut spending on cars and gadgets.

At a large Yaskawa Electric factory on the southern Japanese island of Kyushu, where robots once churned out more robots, a lone robotic worker with steely arms twisted and turned, testing its motors for the day new orders return. Its immobile co-workers stood silent in rows, many with arms frozen in midair.

They could be out of work for a long time. Japanese industrial production has plummeted almost 40 percent and with it, the demand for robots.

“We’ve taken a huge hammering,” said Koji Toshima, president of Yaskawa, Japan’s largest maker of industrial robots.

Japan’s Robots Face Hard Times

Please consider this slideshow called Japan’s Robots Face Hard Times

There are 10 images in the series. I picked 4 to show.

Take a good look at that first image above. People are blaming China for stealing manufacturing jobs. The truth is even China is losing manufacturing jobs. With every passing year, it simply takes fewer and fewer workers to assemble anything. And manufacturing jobs, once lost, seldom if ever come back.

Given that another housing bubble is not going to happen, unless there is another disruptive invention such as the internet that captures the imagination of the world and creates millions of jobs, prospects of a huge recovery are slim. Since no such invention appears likely anytime soon, odds of an L-Shaped recession are extremely high.

Mike “Mish” Shedlock
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