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Richard Drew / AP

Around 3.5 million Americans are employed as cashiers, representing more than 2.5 percent of the workforce. But those jobs are at risk as more and more retailers experiment with automation. LinkedIn Managing Editor Chip Cutter today sounded the alarm, pointing out the country's lack of preparedness for such massive economic dislocation:

"While it's not a high-paying job (the median hourly pay for cashiers nationally is $9.70 per hour), it's an accessible one. People of all ages, skill levels and educational backgrounds can get hired to do the work, often without multiple interviews or even a drug test," Cutter said. "And unlike some occupations, cashier positions can be found across the U.S., not clustered in big cities or on the coasts.In other words, cashiers are everywhere today. But they may soon be nowhere. Are cashiers ready for that? Is the economy?"

Flashback: Last month, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin told Axios that humans losing jobs to artificial intelligence applications is "not even on our radar screen."

Counterpoint: Cashier jobs are sometimes compared to bank teller jobs, which have largely leveled off and even climbed in some places after a major culling in the decade following widespread adoption of automated teller machines. The argument goes that ATMs made bank branches cheaper to operate, which led banks to open more branches that still required tellers (albeit fewer than in the past).

Go deeper

In photos: D.C. and U.S. states on alert for pre-inauguration violence

National Guard troops stand behind security fencing with the dome of the U.S. Capitol Building behind them, on Jan. 16. Photo: Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Security has been stepped up in Washington, D.C., and state capitols across the U.S. as authorities brace for potential violence this weekend.

Driving the news: Following the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol by some supporters of President Trump, the FBI has said there could be armed protests in D.C. and in all 50 state capitols in the run-up to President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration Wednesday.

13 hours ago - Politics & Policy

The new Washington

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The Axios subject-matter experts brief you on the incoming administration's plans and team.

Rep. Lou Correa tests positive for COVID-19

Lou Correa. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Rep. Lou Correa (D-Calif.) announced on Saturday that he has tested positive for the coronavirus.

Why it matters: Correa is the latest Democratic lawmaker to share his positive test results after last week's deadly Capitol riot. Correa did not shelter in the designated safe zone with his congressional colleagues during the siege, per a spokesperson, instead staying outside to help Capitol Police.

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