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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

A new survey of American workers finds signs of hope for the immediate future, but longer-term worries about career advancement.

The big picture: With the pandemic loosening, hiring is expected to pick up dramatically, but the specter of automation and obstacles to reskilling dims the picture for the future.

By the numbers: In a new survey of over 5,000 American adults conducted by the University of Phoenix Career Institute that comes after a wretched year for employment, 78% of respondents say they feel hopeful about the future of their careers, and nearly 80% report they feel highly employable.

  • 7 in 10 say they feel prepared to search for a new job now if they needed or desired.

Yes, but: The survey also found that the economic trauma of COVID-19 has taken its toll on American workers.

  • One in three respondents said the pandemic had taken their career of course — considerably more than the number of Americans who lost their job over the past year.
  • The optimism survey respondents reported feeling now wanes over the longer-term, with one in five saying their job had become automated during the pandemic, and nearly half worrying that their job skills will eventually become outdated because of technology.

Of note: Nearly half of respondents are actively worried about losing their job because of the economy, with higher levels of concern among women, people of color and Generation Z.

What they're saying: "Americans come through in the survey as being really resilient and gritty, but we identify some of the help they'll need to remain that way," says John Woods, chief academic officer at the University of Phoenix.

  • "That could be help with networking, upskilling, or mental health support."

The bottom line: Automation isn't yet the full job destroyer that many Americans fear it will be, but workers will need reskilling help to be in a better position for the future.

Go deeper

2 hours ago - World

Report: LGBTQ+ Afghans' lives "dramatically worsened" under Taliban rule

Taliban fighters in Kabul, Afghanistan, earlier this month. Photo: Mohd Rasfan/AFP via Getty Images

LGBTQ+ Afghans have been threatened, attacked and "faced an increasingly desperate situation and grave threats to their safety" since the Taliban seized control of Afghanistan last August, per a report published Wednesday.

What they're saying: "We spoke with LGBT Afghans who have survived gang rape, mob attacks, or have been hunted by their own family members who joined the Taliban, and they have no hope that state institutions will protect them," per a statement from study co-author J. Lester Feder.

4 hours ago - World

Canadian Indigenous group finds 93 suspected unmarked graves

A makeshift memorial honoring the 215 children whose remains were found in a mass grave in Brantford, Ontario, Canada, last May. Photo: Cole Burston/AFP via Getty Images

Indigenous leaders in Canada's western province of British Columbia said Tuesday they believe they've found 93 unmarked graves near a former boarding school.

The big picture: Hundreds of mass graves have been found at the grounds of former residential schools for Indigenous children since last May, when the remains of 215 children were uncovered at one such site in B.C.

7 hours ago - World

Coast Guard searches for 39 people after boat capsizes off Florida coast

A U.S. Coast Guard ship leaving its base in Miami Beach, Florida, in July. Photo: AP/Marta Lavandier

U.S. Coast Guard crews were searching into the night for 39 people whose boat sank off Florida's coast over the weekend after traveling from the Bahamas.

The big picture: A "good Samaritan" contacted the Coast Guard about 8 a.m. Tuesday to say they "rescued a man clinging to a capsized vessel" 45 miles east of Fort Pierce, per a tweet from the agency, which noted it was dealing with "a suspected human smuggling venture."