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Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

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Data: Cognizant; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Many of the digital jobs of the future have suffered during the later stages of the pandemic, while in-person health care jobs are on the rise.

Why it matters: Automation and digitization will profoundly change the U.S. labor market, but that future has been delayed as COVID-19 forces companies to shift into survival mode.

By the numbers: The consulting firm Cognizant this week released the third-quarter numbers for its Jobs of the Future Index, which tracks the emergence of new jobs in the digital and automated economy.

  • For the first time since the index was launched at the end of 2016, postings for jobs of the future declined in the third quarter while job postings overall rose.
  • Jobs in the algorithms, automation and AI family fell by 13.2% in Q3, while jobs in the fitness and wellness family rose by 42.8%.
  • Home health aide grew by nearly 300% year-on-year, as the pandemic increased demand for health care at home, while health information manager/director fell the most over the year, declining by 56%.

Flashback: Early assumptions — including by me — were that the pandemic would accelerate the adoption of automation, but the sheer economic carnage means that change hasn't yet been reflected in jobs.

What they're saying: "The jobs of the future are collateral damage of the pandemic," says Robert Brown, vice president at Cognizant's Center for the Future of Work. "American companies are focused on keeping the lights on rather than investing in digital growth."

Yes, but: This doesn't mean the disruptive effects of automation and AI have been postponed permanently.

The bottom line: Don't drop out of that AI course yet.

Go deeper: How COVID-19 reshapes the jobs of the future

Go deeper

Jan 22, 2021 - Economy & Business

What Biden's EV push could mean for jobs

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

President Biden's swift effort to re-establish stricter fuel efficiency mandates, along with his broader push toward vehicle electrification, is as much about creating new jobs as it is protecting the environment.

Why it matters: The U.S. lags far behind the rest of the world in electric vehicle adoption. Catching up will require big investments in EV production — including battery cell manufacturing and mining of raw materials — to avoid dependence on imports and foreign supply chains.

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
Updated 6 mins ago - Health

Omicron travel bans are sign of what's to come

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The travel bans and border closures prompted by the Omicron variant likely won't fully prevent its spread, but that won't stop countries from leaning on the measures.

Why it matters: The rapid speed at which countries turned to travel bans with the emergence of Omicron indicates border controls will increasingly become a weapon against infectious disease — whether or not public health experts agree they are effective.

26 mins ago - Politics & Policy

GOP fights itself on shutdown politics

Reporters question Senate Minority Whip John Thune before the Republican Party's weekly lunch on Tuesday. Photo: Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

GOP leaders on Capitol Hill are scrambling to reach a deal with a bloc of 15 Senate Republicans threatening a government shutdown to force a fight over the Biden administration's vaccine mandates.

Why it matters: The push to defund the mandates — by holding the short-term government funding bill hostageis largely symbolic, and highly controversial within the Republican Party. A shutdown as early as midnight Friday could trigger everything from national park closures to delays in receiving Social Security checks.

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