Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on the day's biggest business stories

Subscribe to Axios Closer for insights into the day’s business news and trends and why they matter

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Stay on top of the latest market trends

Subscribe to Axios Markets for the latest market trends and economic insights. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sports news worthy of your time

Binge on the stats and stories that drive the sports world with Axios Sports. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tech news worthy of your time

Get our smart take on technology from the Valley and D.C. with Axios Login. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Get the inside stories

Get an insider's guide to the new White House with Axios Sneak Peek. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

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

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

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Denver news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Des Moines news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Twin Cities news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Tampa Bay news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Charlotte news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sign up for Axios NW Arkansas

Stay up-to-date on the most important and interesting stories affecting NW Arkansas, authored by local reporters

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!
Expand chart
Data: McKinsey Global Institute; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Think polarization and inequality are bad now? Buckle up: big cities are poised to get bigger, richer and more powerful — at the expense of the rest of America, a new report by McKinsey Global Institute shows.

Why it matters: McKinsey's analysis of 315 cities and more than 3,000 counties shows only the healthiest local economies will be able to successfully adapt to disruptions caused by the next wave of automation. Wide swaths of the country, especially already-distressed rural regions, are in danger of shedding more jobs.

  • The 25 most prosperous cities that have led the recovery from the Great Recession are poised to get stronger. Those megacities could claim at least 60% of job growth through 2030.

The big picture: The labor market will become more polarized.

  • On one end of the spectrum: a couple dozen successful cities with diversified economies and a lot of young, highly educated workers who are likely to be more resilient to workforce transitions.
  • On the other end: "trailing" cities and rural regions with aging workforces, lower education levels and jobs that are highly susceptible to automation-related displacement. As a result, these places may see a decade of flat or even negative net job growth.

Between these extremes is a group of thriving niche cities, such as Sunbelt cities popular with retiring baby boomers and college towns.

  • There's also a broader “mixed middle” that is seeing modest economic growth. These places — including stable cities like St. Louis and unique economies like Lancaster, Pa. — aren't necessarily thriving but are doing much better than distressed areas.

Making matters worse, workforce mobility is at historic lows, meaning far fewer people are moving to new counties or states.

  • "And when they do move, they go to places very similar to where they came from," said McKinsey partner Susan Lund.
  • That means people from distressed areas aren't finding their way into more prosperous ones, deepening their sense of being left behind and likely leading to greater social and political turmoil.

The impact: Automation will have the largest impact on entry-level and older workers, because more of their jobs tend to be routine or physical in nature and are most likely to be taken over by machines and algorithms.

  • It will also affect some of the country's largest occupational categories: office support, food service, production work, customer service and retail sales.
  • Almost 40% of U.S. jobs are in categories expected to shrink between now and 2030.
  • The hollowing out of middle-wage work will likely continue, per the report, without deliberate intervention to provide workers with skills they need to get higher-paying jobs.

Women may be better positioned than men for the automation-era jobs, with McKinsey data suggesting women could capture 58% of net job growth through 2030.

  • This is largely because of women's heavy representation in health professions and personal care work.
  • The catch: Many of those jobs are not high-paying.

What's next: It's going to be up to local and federal policy makers to proactively create employment paths for the those most likely to face displacement, McKinsey's Lund said. "Lifting up these places will not just happen naturally," she said. "It will take a concerted effort."

Go deeper

Updated 2 hours ago - Science

Huge wildfire reaches edge of Sequoia National Park

A plume of smoke and flames rise into the air as the fire burns towards Moro Rock during the KNP Complex fire in the Sequoia National Park near Three Rivers, California, on Saturday. Photo: Patrick T. Fallon/AFP via Getty Images

Firefighters in Sequoia National Park were working into the night after two wildfires merged to reach the Giant Forest Saturday.

Why it matters: This forest contains over 2,000 giant sequoias, including the General Sherman Tree — the world's largest tree by volume. Park officials wrapped the redwoods in foil last week as the Paradise and Colony Fires, now known as the KNP Complex Fire, neared. Protection efforts appeared to be working overnight.

2 hours ago - World

Hong Kong holds first "patriots only" elections

Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam during a news conference last Monday. Photo: Lui Siu Wai/Xinhua via Getty Images

Hong Kong's elections to choose the city's Election Committee members opened to a select group of voters on Sunday, under a new "patriots only" system imposed by China's government.

Why it matters: All candidates running to be members of the electoral college have been "vetted" by Beijing, per Reuters. They will go on to choose the Asian financial hub's next leader, approved by China's government, and some of its legislature.

5 hours ago - World

Israeli forces capture final 2 escaped Palestinian prisoners

An Israeli security forces member on Saturday stands guard at the Gilboa prison in northern Israel, from where the six inmates escaped. Photo: Ahmad Gharabli/AFP via Getty Images

Israeli forces captured the two remaining Palestinian prisoners who tunneled their way out of an Israeli maximum-security prison with four others in a "Shawshank Redemption"-style escape, authorities announced Sunday.

Why it matters: The escape sparked a massive manhunt and turned the prisoners into heroes in the West Bank and Gaza, with Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Gaza threatening an escalation if they were harmed, per Axios' Barak Ravid.