The double hit of recession and secular changes means employment will NOT come back easily. America’s unemployed are stuck with the wrong skills and little to contribute to modern industry.
Using data from the BLS, we’ve identified the fields in permanent decline.
Postal service workers — 12% decline by 2018
Employed in ’08: 599KProjected for ’18: 527K
53K jobs lost already… Most of the damage done already, but more could be coming. The postal service knocked off thousands of workers with early retirement and now plans to cut Saturday service and eliminate another 50 thousand jobs. The postal service is stuck between a bloated government and an aging technology.
Switchboard operators — 12% decline by 2018
Employed in ’08: 3.6KProjected for ’18: 3.2K
1.0K jobs lost already… Already lost most than projected by the BLS, so a few jobs may trickle back. But long term this occupation is on the wrong side of the tech boom.
(It used to employ much greater numbers, which is why the BLS lists it as a major occupational category.)
Oil & gas unskilled laborers — 13% decline by 2018
Employed in ’08: 66KProjected for ’18: 57K
7K jobs gained since 2008… One sector that has GAINED since the recession. Low gas prices and a booming US industry have kept these jobs rising. Deepwater Horizon and peak oil could put an end to that.
Inventory and recordkeepers — 13% decline by 2018
Employed in ’08: 72KProjected for ’18: 62K
6.1K jobs lost already… More job loss coming. Improved inventory software and technology mean these jobs are fading. Check out what robots can do –>
Correspondence clerks — 14% decline by 2018
Employed in ’08: 14KProjected for ’18: 12K
5.2K jobs lost already… The first jobs to go in a recession, these could rebound slightly by 2018. But will new jobs go to temp workers?
Electronics assemblers — 15% decline by 2018
Employed in ’08: 298KProjected for ’18: 254K
23K jobs lost already… More job loss coming. You know where electronics are cheaper? Foxconn.
Machine operators — 15% decline by 2018
Employed in ’08: 86KProjected for ’18: 73K
15K jobs lost already… After a major hit in the recession, the industry may stabilize or trickle back.
Miscellaneous plant and system operators — 15% decline by 2018
Employed in ’08: 120KProjected for ’18: 102K
2.2K jobs lost already… More job loss coming — blame robots and the rest of the world.
(That said, since we don’t expect job loss to increase 900% in the next few years, these numbers indicate an ambiguity in BLS categories and reporting.)
Photo processors and machine operators — 16% decline by 2018
Employed in ’08: 73KProjected for ’18: 61K
6.7K jobs lost already… Another dying technology in favor of digital film. Case in point is the near bankruptcy of Kodak.
Machine parts manufacturers — 17% decline by 2018
Employed in ’08: 444KProjected for ’18: 368K
30.2 thousand jobs lost already… Lots of job loss already and more coming, with parts cheaper and sometimes better in other countries.
Computer operators — 19% decline by 2018
Employed in ’08: 110KProjected for ’18: 90K
23K jobs lost already… One digital job that isn’t surging. Mainframe and system computer operators are in low demand as companies use personal computers and computer literacy grows.
Oil & gas derrick operators — 19% decline
Employed in ’08: 93KProjected for ’18: 75K
1.7K jobs gained since 2008… Once again, the oil & gas sector weathered the recession well. Will it beat the BLS projections for 2018?
Extraction worker helpers — 19% decline by 2018
Employed in ’08: 26KProjected for ’18: 21K
460 jobs lost already… A few jobs lost, but with the rest of the oil & gas industry these jobs have been stable. But the BLS predicts a downturn…
Bookbinders and bindery workers — 19% decline by 2018
Employed in ’08: 67KProjected for ’18: 54K
8.92K jobs lost already… With the printed word in decline, these guys are losing out.
Utilities meter readers –20% decline by 2018
Employed in ’08: 45KProjected for ’18: 36K
3.9K jobs lost already… Another consequence of improved technology and software, which allows companies to regulate usage without sending a technician.
Shoe and leather workers — 21% decline by 2018
Employed in ’08: 14KProjected for ’18: 11K
690 jobs lost already… More job loss coming as factories move to China and elsewhere.
Desktop publishers — 23% decline by 2018
Image: zen on flickr
Employed in ’08: 26KProjected for ’18: 20K
6.5K jobs lost already… Desktop publishers create printed material for companies. But does anyone still print?
File clerks — 23% decline by 2018
Employed in ’08: 212KProjected for ’18: 163K
26K jobs lost already… More job loss coming as software takes over and — hopefully — efficiency increases.
Pumping station operators — 25% decline by 2018
Employed in ’08: 33KProjected for ’18: 25K
70 jobs lost already… Low gas prices may have kept these workers employed during the recession. But gas prices will rise and Americans will have less money for happy motoring.
Order clerks — 26% decline by 2108
Employed in ’08: 246KProjected for ’18: 182K
29K jobs lost already… Another casualty of improved software and technology.
Semiconductor processors — 32% decline by 2018
Employed in ’08: 32KProjected for ’18: 22K
11K jobs lost already… Lots of job loss already, off to China and Japan.
Sewing machine operators — 34% decline by 2018
Employed in ’08: 212KProjected for ’18: 141K
35 thousand jobs lost already… More job loss coming by 2018, continuing a decades-old decline in American textiles.
Textile machine operators — 39% decline by 2018
Employed in ’08: 100KProjected for ’18: 61K
27K jobs lost already… Again, textile workers are getting murdered by machines and outsourcing.