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Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin may not be concerned about losing American jobs to robots within the next fifty to one hundred years, but the phenomenon is already decades old. That's according to research published Monday by economists Daron Acemoglu and Pascual Restrepo who estimate that the U.S. has already lost between 360,000 and 670,000 jobs jobs to robots since 1990.

Expand chart
Data: National Bureau of Economic Research; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon / Axios

A growing problem: The pace of displacement is set to accelerate from here. Acemoglu and Restrepo say that if automation proceeds at predicted rates, millions of jobs could be lost while wage growth is reduced by up to 2.6% between 2015 and 2025.

Compounding inequality: The rise of automation has occurred at a time when more income is going towards ownership relative to labor than at any time since economists began widely collecting such data. If automation is partially to blame for this shift, the increasing use of robots will only worsen the problem.

Go deeper

2 hours ago - Podcasts

Former Georgia Gov. Roy Barnes on the Senate runoffs

The future of U.S. politics, and all that flows from it, is in the hands of Georgia voters when they vote in two Senate runoffs on January 5.

Axios Re:Cap digs into the election dynamics with former Georgia Gov. Roy Barnes, a Democrat who served between 1999 and 2003.

2 hours ago - Health

Cuomo orders emergency hospital protocols as COVID capacity dwindles

Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Photo: Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said on Monday that struggling state hospital systems must transfer patients to sites that are not nearing capacity, as rising coronavirus cases and hospitalizations strain medical resources.

Why it matters: New York does not expect to get the same kind of help from thousands of out-of-state doctors and nurses that it got this spring, Cuomo acknowledged, as most of the country battles skyrocketing COVID hospitalizations and infections.

Arizona certifies Biden's win

Photo: Demetrius Freeman/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Arizona officials certified the state's presidential election results on Monday, paving the way for President-elect Joe Biden to be awarded its 11 electoral votes.

Why it matters: The move deals yet another blow to President Trump's efforts to block or delay certification in key swing states that he lost. Biden beat the president in Arizona by more than 10,000 votes.