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Making control units for tanks and airplanes in 1943. Photo: FPG/Hulton Archive/Getty

The U.S. government and private companies will need to pay $34 billion to reskill 1.4 million workers who may lose their jobs to automation in the coming years, according to a new report from the World Economic Forum.

Yes, but: Most of that cost will have to be covered by the government because only about 25% of it will be cost-efficient for business, Saadia Zahidi, managing director of the World Economic Forum, told Axios.

What's happening: The World Economic Forum, meeting this week in Davos, Switzerland, sought to put a dollar amount on the fundamental reskilling of the workforce that will be necessary against a huge wave of automation presumed to be on its way.

  • The 1.4 million displaced workers due to robotization, an estimate originally from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, is a fraction of what prior major forecasts estimated, including Oxford University and the McKinsey Global Institute.
  • Zahidi says that if the larger estimates are right, the cost of reskilling will be that much higher.
  • Many of those to be displaced will have to learn entirely different occupations, according to the report.

The report also said that 18% of those displaced, or 252,000 people, will not be reskillable economically, so the government will have to step in with public assistance.

Go deeper

World leaders react to "new dawn in America" under Biden administration

President Biden reacts delivers his inaugural address on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

World leaders have pledged to work with President Biden on issues including the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change, with many praising his move to begin the formal process for the U.S. to rejoin the Paris Climate Agreement.

The big picture: Several leaders noted the swift shift from former President Trump's "America First" policy to Biden's action to re-engage with the world and rebuild alliances.

Updated 5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

In photos: The Biden and Harris inauguration

President Biden and first lady Jill Biden watch a fireworks show on the National Mall from the Truman Balcony at the White House on Wednesday night. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

President Biden signed his first executive orders into law from the Oval Office on Wednesday evening after walking in a brief inaugural parade to the White House with first lady Jill Biden and members of their family. He was inaugurated with Vice President Kamala Harris at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday morning.

Why it matters: Many of Biden's day one actions immediately reverse key Trump administration policies, including rejoining the Paris Agreement and the World Health Organization, launching a racial equity initiative and reversing the Muslim travel ban.

Republicans pledge to set aside differences and work with Biden

President Biden speaks to Sen. Mitch McConnell after being sworn in at the West Front of the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday. Photo: Erin Schaff-Pool/Getty Images

Several Republicans praised President Biden's calls for unity during his inaugural address on Wednesday and pledged to work together for the benefit of the American people.

Why it matters: The Democrats only have a slim majority in the Senate and Biden will likely need to work with the GOP to pass his legislative agenda.