Trump's protectionist policies may actually accelerate automation of US jobs, Jefferies predicts

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Protectionist policies proposed by President-elect Donald Trump could result in jobs losses, as companies use more machines instead of humans in order to reduce rising labor costs in the United States, Jefferies forecasts.

"If companies do invest in the U.S. they are going [to] need to make significant productivity gains by trying to lower unit labor costs. Indeed according to a study by Oxford University in 2013, 47 percent of U.S. jobs are at risk of being replaced by robots," wrote Sean Darby, Jefferies' chief global equity strategist.

"Sell humans, buy robots," he added in the note.

Darby says increased "moral suasion" placed on corporations by Trump to produce in the United States at a time when wages are rising, the dollar is strong and land prices are high, could accelerate the trend in automation.