The Economic Perspective: “New Meatpackers”

Mary:  This is Mary Walden with economist MW welcoming you to the economic perspective.  Today’s program looks at new meatpackers.  Mike, meatpacking is an important industry in North Carolina.  Unfortunately, several meatpacking plants have had outbreaks of the coronavirus and have had to stop operations for a period of time.  What are companies doing to deal with this situation?


Mike: Summary Answer

  • Of course, have first implemented safety procedures for their workers and factories
  • But some have gone the next step – replace meat cutters and packers with robots
  • Robots can’t do everything – meat cutting is a delicate procedure – but potentially get better over time
  • This is an issue many – including me – have predicted from the pandemic – employers being motivated to replace people – who can get sick or be ordered to stay at home – with machines
  • Question – how far will it go
  • I’m MW


Mary:  And I’m Mary Walden for the Economic Perspective, an NC State Extension program from the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics.