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Illustration:Rebecca Zisser/Axios

As waves of automation-fueled job losses crash against the labor market, one unexpected hotbed of disruption is Las Vegas, a city overflowing with low-wage, low-skill work.

Why it matters: The consensus among experts is that the next big zone to be decimated by robots is the service industry. The hundreds of thousands of jobs in Vegas, among them cooking, cleaning, selling and dealing cards, fall squarely into this vulnerable pocket.

The already-underway technological upheaval could send Sin City, which only a decade ago was clobbered by the financial crash, reeling once again.

By the numbers: Per a report from the University of Redlands' Institute of Spatial Economic Analysis, 65% of Vegas jobs have a high chance of being automated away. Compare that to 25% of all jobs in the U.S.

  • Nevada suffered an outsized impact from the Great Recession, with a jobless rate north of 14%, compared with a peak national rate of about 10%. Its vulnerability to job loss means unemployment could flare again.

As we reported last week, the effects of automation are projected to hit the center of the country hardest. But not just middle America is at risk. There are urban pockets with high concentrations of low-wage service jobs — and Vegas is atop that list.

The root of the danger in Las Vegas is the dominance of one industry: casinos.

  • "That's a blessing and a curse," says Jeffrey Brown, a researcher at the Bertelsmann Foundation and co-author of a new report on the future of work in Las Vegas.
  • It's a blessing because casinos buoy the city's economy; it's a curse because when they begin automating away jobs, workers will have little to fall back on.

The bottom line: Casinos are already installing fancy gaming machines and new equipment that allows blackjack dealers to accommodate dozens of gamers, where until now they have been able to deal only to a handful. Their hotels are targets for robotization, too, with automated check-in, room service, housekeeping and even robotic bartenders.

Go deeper

Federal court blocks Biden's vaccine mandate for health workers in 10 states

President Biden delivers remarks on the Omicron COVID-19 variant following a meeting with his COVID-19 response team. Photo: Anna Moneymaker via Getty Images

A federal court in Missouri has blocked the Biden administration from enforcing a coronavirus vaccine mandate for health care workers at federally funded facilities in 10 states.

Why it matters: Monday's decision is the first victory for opponents of the rule, which requires health care workers to get vaccinated by Jan. 4, 2022. The case is one of four lawsuits challenging the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services' (CMS) rule and argues that the mandate will exacerbate staffing shortages.

Twitter's next act

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Twitter co-founder and CEO Jack Dorsey is exiting the company he helped build at a time when its future has never been so uncertain.

Why it matters: The person who controls Twitter controls the de facto public square — with implications for politics, media and free speech.

2 hours ago - Health

CDC strengthens COVID booster recommendation

Rochelle Walensky. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Monday strengthened its previous recommendation for booster shots, saying that everyone 18 and older "should" receive a booster dose.

Why it matters: Last month, CDC director Rochelle Walensky accepted a key advisory committee's recommendation that adults "may" get the shot. The slight, but strengthened, change in wording comes amid the emergence of the Omicron coronavirus variant.