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Expand chart
Data: ZipRecruiter; Map: Naema Ahmed/Axios

A predicted wave of new jobs in the drone industry may spread beyond the usual tech hotbeds, attached not just to research universities in wealthy areas but to delivery and logistics hubs, construction sites and big industrial installations.

Why it matters: It's not yet clear how much new work drones will create, but where new jobs are — and who will be equipped to do them — will help determine who will benefit from the Drone Age.

The big picture: Thousands of people already work with drones — designing, manufacturing, maintaining and flying them. But the industry is still in its early stages, slowed in part by regulatory requirements.

  • Experts' estimates for the future of this work vary widely, from a continued steady trickle of new jobs to a broader deluge.
  • The map above shows today's baseline. Drone-related hiring appears concentrated in big cities — not just in traditional tech hubs like San Francisco and Seattle, but also near Phoenix, Atlanta and Minneapolis.

"It's so easy to see the explosive nature of it," says Ian Siegel, CEO of ZipRecruiter, the job-search site — and an outspoken drone optimist.

  • "Every industry you look at will potentially be touched by drones," Siegel says. "Anywhere you would go and wait in a line and not be happy about waiting in that line, just assume there'll be a delivery option available."
  • In data ZipRecruiter shared with Axios, job openings ranged from the obvious (developer, pilot) to the unexpected (lifeguard, camp counselor).

Yes, but: "On the ground, sometimes it feels like it's moving a little slower," says Alan Perlman, CEO of UAV Coach, which trains pilots for a certification required to fly drones.

  • Perlman says his classes are in demand, but not overflowing.
  • One thing holding back uptake is many companies' ignorance of how to integrate drones. "They think of drones as a very easy tool, but they don't think about the maintenance schedule and regulations," Perlman says.

The big question: When the government finally allows most pilots to fly drones remotely — beyond their own line of sight — will operations be aggregated into a central location?

  • Rather than having pilots sitting at every logistics hub, a drone delivery company like UPS or Amazon could put them all in an office building somewhere and have them oversee flights worldwide.
  • That — plus increasingly autonomous drones — might chip away at the vision of ubiquitous drone jobs.

Go deeper

The hard math behind America's labor shortage

Data: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Congressional Budget Office; Chart: Axios Visuals

Yes, the pandemic has created unusual temporary labor market dynamics. But in the bigger picture, the 2010s were a golden age for companies seeking cheap labor. The 2020s are not.

The big picture: In the 2010s, the massive millennial generation was entering the workforce, the massive baby bo0m generation was still hard at work, and there was a multi-year hangover from the deep recession caused by the global financial crisis.

Advocates fret Roe v. Wade's 49th anniversary could be its last

Photo: Leigh Vogel/Getty Images for Women's March Inc

As Saturday marks the 49th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court's landmark decision that legalized abortion access in the U.S., advocates warn the ruling is "more at risk now than ever."

The big picture: The Supreme Court in December heard a challenge to a Mississippi 15-week abortion ban that could throw Roe's survival into question, or at least narrow its scope.

Updated 14 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

  1. Health: Pfizer and Moderna boosters overwhelmingly prevent Omicron hospitalizations, CDC finds — Omicron pushes COVID deaths toward 2,000 per day — The pandemic-proof health care giant.
  2. Vaccines: The case for Operation Warp Speed 2.0 — Starbucks drops worker vaccine or test requirement after SCOTUS ruling — Kids' COVID vaccination rates are particularly low in rural America.
  3. Politics: Biden concedes U.S. should have done more testing — Arizona says it "will not be intimidated" by Biden on anti-mask school policies — Federal judge blocks Biden's vaccine mandate for federal workers.
  4. World: American Airlines flight to London forced to turn around over mask dispute — WHO: COVID health emergency could end this year — Greece imposes vaccine mandate for people 60 and older — Austria approves COVID vaccine mandate for adults.
  5. Variant tracker