General Electric's new $100 million jet-engine manufacturing plant in Indiana features a vision inspection system. In the past, a technician would spend four hours poring over the engine in search of defects. The machine, however, can do it in twenty minutes, while at the same time creating a permanent, digital record of the engine that helps reduce maintenance costs if something does go wrong.

  • Easy math: The vision inspection system costs north of $100,000 dollars, and when you consider that aerospace technicians enter the industry fetching between $20 and $40 per hour, that's an investment that can pay for itself in less than two years.
  • A job killer? Without innovations like the vision inspection system, GE workers wouldn't increase their productivity, and higher worker productivity is what enables higher wages. But make no mistake — the purpose of many of these innovations is to cut down on the need for labor.
  • A catch-22: Industries, like manufacturing, that have seen above-average productivity growth are industries where wage growth has a chance to be strong, but these are also industries in which automation is likely leading to less overall employment. In industries like healthcare and education, where productivity growth has been weak, the opposite problem exists. A nursing home assistant earns on average just $11.51 per hour, despite surging demand for workers.

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Deadly Hurricane Zeta pummels Alabama after Louisiana landfall

A satellite image of Hurricane Zeta. Photo: National Hurricane Center/NOAA

Hurricane Zeta has killed at least one person after a downed power line electrocuted a 55-year-old in Louisiana as the storm moved into Alabama overnight.

What's happening: After "battering southeastern Louisiana and southern Mississippi," it began lashing Alabama late Wednesday, per the National Hurricane Center.

57 mins ago - World

Taiwan reaches a record 200 days with no local coronavirus cases

Catholics go through containment protocols including body-temperature measurement and hands-sanitisation before entering the Saint Christopher Parish Church, Taipei City, Taiwan, in July. Photo: Ceng Shou Yi/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Taiwan on Thursday marked no locally transmitted coronavirus cases for 200 days, as the island of 23 million people's total number of infections reported stands at 550 and the COVID-19 death toll at seven.

Why it matters: Nowhere else in the world has reached such a milestone. While COVID-19 cases surge across the U.S. and Europe, Taiwan's last locally transmitted case was on April 12. Experts credit tightly regulated travel, early border closure, "rigorous contact tracing, technology-enforced quarantine and universal mask wearing," along with the island state's previous experience with the SARS virus, per Bloomberg.

Go deeper: As Taiwan's profile rises, so does risk of conflict with China

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

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  2. Health: Fauci says U.S. may not return to normal until 2022 — Trump's testing czar: Surge "is real" and not just caused by more tests Some coronavirus survivors have "autoantibodies."
  3. Business: Consumer confidence sinking Testing is a windfall.
  4. World: Europe faces "stronger and deadlier" wave France imposes lockdown Germany to close bars and restaurants for a month.
  5. Sports: Boston Marathon delayed MLB to investigate Dodgers player who joined celebration after positive COVID test.