U.S. warehouses have added 262,000 jobs over the past five years as retailers ramp up the capacity to distribute the growing number of goods bought online by American shoppers. The Wall Street Journal calls these jobs, which largely involve "picking" items from warehouse shelves and packing them in boxes, "the biggest labor cost in most e-commerce distribution centers, and among the least automated."

The problem of creating a robot that can grip and pick up almost any object, and put it in a box, has vexed the industry: such a robot, if it replaces workers doing the same job, could cut a fifth of the cost of filling e-commerce orders, MWPVL International's Marc Wulfraat tells the WSJ. As it stands, warehouses are having trouble filling jobs amid a tight labor market and rising wage demands.

Why it matters: Such robots could help online retailers by putting a lid on wage growth, giving them an alternative to meeting demands for higher pay.

  • That is not good news for workers, though: wages have remained stagnant since the financial crash, and — should robots take more jobs in warehouses — they would both keep that cap on pay, and cut off a source of jobs for laid-off retail workers.

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Americans reflect on Independence Day amid racism reckoning

A Black Lives Matter banner and a United States flag on the facade of the U.S. embassy building in Seoul, South Korea. Photo: Simon Shin/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

America's leaders are rethinking how they view Independence Day, as the country reckons with the historic, unequal treatment of people of color during a pandemic which has disproportionately affected nonwhite Americans.

Why it matters: The country’s legacy of racism has come into sharp focus in the weeks of protests following the death of George Floyd while in Minneapolis police custody. From Confederate statues to Mount Rushmore, Americans are reexamining the symbols and traditions they elevate and the history behind them.

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

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  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 2 p.m. ET: 2,767,669 — Total deaths: 128,951 — Total recoveries: 781,970 — Total tested: 33,462,181Map.
  3. Public health: The states where face coverings are mandatory Fauci says it has been a "very disturbing week" for the spread of the coronavirus in the U.S.
  4. Economy: The economy may recover just quickly enough to kill political interest in more stimulus.
  5. States: Florida reports more than 10,000 new coronavirus cases, and its most-infected county issues curfew.
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Washington Redskins to review team name amid public pressure

Photo: Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

The Washington Redskins have announced they will be conducting a review of the team's name after mounting pressure from the public and corporate sponsors.

Why it matters: This review is the first formal step the Redskins are taking since the debate surrounding the name first began. It comes after weeks of discussions between the team and the NFL, the team said.