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 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!

Denver news in your inbox

Catch up on 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!

Des Moines news in your inbox

Catch up on 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!

Minneapolis-St. Paul news in your inbox

Catch up on 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!

Tampa Bay news in your inbox

Catch up on 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!

Charlotte news in your inbox

Catch up on 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!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Lazaro Gamio / Axios

The opioid epidemic. Stagnating wages. The anti-establishment political wave. All are linked to the start of a new industrial age in which robotics, automation and artificial intelligence are changing the nature of work. First for low-skilled workers, and soon for more skilled occupations, from truck drivers to lawyers, doctors and Wall Street analysts.

Here's former Treasury Secretary and Harvard professor Larry Summers, speaking to Axios:

"People ask why fewer children have fathers at home. That is not unrelated to the absence of work for those fathers. People ask why there is a sense of estrangement, disillusionment, anger, and lack of confidence in institutions that led to the kind of spasmodic response we saw in the last election. That is not unrelated to the drying up of opportunities for men and for less skilled workers in general. ... There are not the kind of jobs that there once were."

Why it matters: Deaths from opioid use have more than quadrupled since 1999, and addiction costs almost $100 billion annually — all linked, among other social trends, to stagnating income and the loss of jobs. Economists also connect unemployment and low wages with a breakdown of families, including a rise in children born to unmarried mothers and living in single-parent households.

This is the beginning of a social, political and economic transformation that Axios is tracking as part of a new Future of Work stream and newsletter (subscribe here).

Be smart: If you look at the jobless data to which Summers is referring, you will see a disconnect — U.S. unemployment is at a low 4.4%, and to attract and retain workers, companies have had to begin to raise wages. But what Summers is suggesting is that this uptick may be illusory. Many economists expect robotization to eventually take hold as the economy is unable to keep producing enough jobs to compensate for lost ones. At that point, they say, unemployment will surge.

Go deeper

Resurrecting Martin Luther King's office

King points to Selma, Alabama on a map at his Southern Christian Leadership Conference office in Atlanta in January 1965. Photo: Bettmann/Getty Contributor

Efforts to save the office where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., planned some of the most important moments of the civil rights movement are hitting roadblocks amid a political stalemate.

Why it matters: The U.S. Park Service needs to OK agreements so a developer restoring the historic Prince Hall Masonic Lodge in Atlanta — which once housed King's Southern Christian Leadership Conference — can tap into private funding and begin work.

Off the Rails

Episode 4: Trump turns on Barr

Photo illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios. Photos: Drew Angerer, Pool/Getty Images

Beginning on election night 2020 and continuing through his final days in office, Donald Trump unraveled and dragged America with him, to the point that his followers sacked the U.S. Capitol with two weeks left in his term. Axios takes you inside the collapse of a president with a special series.

Episode 4: Trump torches what is arguably the most consequential relationship in his Cabinet.

Attorney General Bill Barr stood behind a chair in the private dining room next to the Oval Office, looming over Donald Trump. The president sat at the head of the table. It was Dec. 1, nearly a month after the election, and Barr had some sharp advice to get off his chest. The president's theories about a stolen election, Barr told Trump, were "bullshit."

In photos: Protests outside fortified capitols draw only small groups

Armed members of the far-right extremist group the Boogaloo Bois near the Michigan Capitol Building in Lansing on Jan. 17. About 20 protesters showed up, AP notes. Photo: Seth Herald/AFP via Getty Images

Small groups of protesters gathered outside fortified statehouses across the U.S. over the weekend ahead of President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration Wednesday.

The big picture: Some protests attracted armed members of far-right extremist groups but there were no reports of clashes, as had been feared. The National Guard and law enforcement outnumbered demonstrators, as security was heightened around the U.S. to avoid a repeat of the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol riots, per AP.