Eight Jobs That Are Expected To Decline

Eight Jobs That Are Expected To Decline
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President Obama unleashed a rush of criticism from America’s travel agents when on at least two occasions – one during an August 2011 town hall meeting and the other earlier this year on the ABS news program “This Week” – he named the travel agent as an example of a disappearing profession.

“One of the challenges in terms of rebuilding our economy is businesses have gotten so efficient that – when was the last time somebody went to a bank teller instead of using the ATM, or used a travel agent instead of just going online?” the President said in 2011 “A lot of jobs that used to be out there requiring people now have become automated.”

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While no one will question the demise of the railroad porter or the blacksmith, we get a little touchy when it comes to our own professions. Do you doubt it? Ask a librarian if her job is going the way of the dinosaur and see what kind of response you get. Better yet, ask your local mail carrier.

Despite what we think or what we like to think it is a fact that some jobs are in a steep decline and other are simply fading away because of advances in technology. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), utility companies will lose some 60,000 jobs, the mining and oil/gas extraction industry will lose more than 100,000 jobs, and the manufacturing industry will lose more than one million jobs by 2018.

While many industries are projected to grow in the coming years – especially the health care industry — there is also evidence that some occupations are destined to become obsolete.

The majority of these jobs are office and administrative support and production positions, which are affected by new technology and automation. You’ll find that the positions that require the most people contact are the ones that will endure. Here are eight jobs that are expected to decline in number and percentage of workers by 2020 based on the projections by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Here are eight jobs that are expected to decline

Postal Service Employees

Employed in 2010: 524,300

Projected to be employed in 2020: 385,500

Percentage decline: -26.5%

The use of digital communication for everything from store catalogs to greeting cards and everything in between has devastated the United States Postal Service. The government has implemented rounds of cuts to the number of postal employees. In 2010, there were about 524,000 USPS positions in the country. By 2020, the BLS expects that number to decrease by 140,000 or 28 percent.

Sewing Machine Operators

Employed in 2010: 163,200

Projected to be employed in 2020: 121,100

Percentage decline: -25.8%

Workers in the domestic textile industry have borne the brunt of outsourcing and automotive advances for years. As American clothing manufacturers have turned to offshore assembly and new and advanced machinery to produce more profits, these operator jobs will continue to fade away.

Switchboard Operators

Employed in 2010: 142,500

Projected to be employed in 2020: 109,300

Percentage decline: -23.3%

I may get in trouble for the same reason President Obama did with the travel agent debacle, but I’ll risk it. When was the last time you talked with a telephone operator? Today we use the internet to find addresses and phone numbers, and we increasingly use e-mail or texting rather than the phone for our communication.

Desktop Publishers

Employed in 2010: 22,600

Projected to be employed in 2020: 19,300

Percentage decline: -14.7%

Desktop publishers use computer programs to design layouts for online or print media. Unfortunately for this profession, not only has it has become easier for other office workers to learn and to take on this task but the generally flailing print industry has taken away some of the need for this job as well.

Word Processors and Typists

Employed in 2010: 115,300

Projected to be employed in 2020: 102,100

Percentage decline: -11.5%

The need for typists has steadily declined over the past few decades and whatever need a company may have for this service is often outsourced to other countries.

Door-to-Door Sales Workers and News and Street Vendors

Employed in 2010: 158,800

Projected to be employed in 2020: 102,100

Percentage decline: -11.5%

Our increasing reliance on the internet for reading the publications we used to buy at the corner newsstand has caused there to be fewer and fewer stands. In addition, the door-to-door-salesman has is becoming more and more of a rarity. Not only do most busy American families not have a predictable time to be at home, but, as a result, we have come to value our privacy when we are at home. We become annoyed by anyone who comes to the door to sell us something.

Farmers, Ranchers and other Agricultural Managers

Employed in 2010: 1,202,500

Projected to be employed in 2020: 1,106,400

Percentage decline: -8%

Although advancements in technology have increased food yields by 158% since 1948, they have dramatically reduced the need for farmhands. Some large American farms have managed to stay afloat because they produce more food per worker for less cost and therefore qualify for government subsidies, but many of the nation’s small farms have given up or are on the verge of doing so. The increasing costs of purchasing and maintaining land, equipment, seed and fertilizers will continue to push the small to medium farmer or rancher out of business.

Data Entry Clerks

Employed in 2010: 234,700

Projected to be employed in 2020: 218,800

Percentage decline: -6.8%

Although we all are reading and using more and more data all the time, the ease of obtaining and exchanging information over the internet has basically taken away the need for this profession. In addition, more and more companies have adopted data-capturing technology, including bar code scanners, voice recognition and character recognition readers.

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