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The greater Milwaukee area leads the nation in robot-based jobs. (PHOTO: labmidwest.com)

There's no rust in Milwaukee: area leads country in robot-based jobs

I've never liked the term Rust Belt. It's a lazy default for those who don't really know the Midwestern part of the United States. I don't use the term and when I see a new moniker arrive, I embrace it. Welcome, fellow greater Milwaukeeans to the Robot Belt.

Yes, the Robot Belt.

Milwaukee has more robot-based jobs than any other city in the country. Yes, we're number one. The top-ranked metropolitan area for high-tech and advanced manufacturing? Greater Milwaukee, with nearly 9,000 jobs in the sector. This, according to a study by Nancey Leigh and Benjamin Kraft, which used Census data and data from industry sources such as the International Federation of Robotics and the Robotics Industry Association to identify leading centers in the robotics industries.

Not only does Milwaukee succeed with its robot numbers, the entire Midwest does very well. Richard Florida extracted this data recently and found a "distinct Robot Belt around the Great Lakes, running across the great mega-region that runs from Chicago through Detroit and Cleveland and over to Pittsburgh. This dense Midwest cluster of robotics reflects the fact that robotics-related industries tend to co-locate with manufacturing-based industries, such as auto manufacturing and machinery manufacturing, that use their products, according the study."

Milwaukee also ranked well as an "integrator," an area that focuses on designing and implementing robotic systems. According to the study and Florida, "the leading metros for integrators include Kansas City, Iowa City, Milwaukee, Seattle, Cleveland, Houston, Detroit, and Chicago — many of them old Rust Belt manufacturing hubs."

So, there you have it. Beer and robots. Milwaukee, you're on the move. Let's embrace it and leave the rust behind.


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