23 Occupations That Will Never Recover From The Great Recession

Even if employment somehow does recover to pre-recession levels in the next few years, some jobs won’t ever return.These doomed jobs come from industries in decline. Already fading, the recession was a death blow for manufacturing, administration and other work that can be done cheaper by foreigners and machines.

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

Postal service workers -- 12% decline by 2018

Image: AP

Employed in ’08: 599KProjected for ’18: 527K

53K jobs lost alreadyMost 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.

Source: BLS

Switchboard operators — 12% decline by 2018

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.)

Source: BLS

Oil & gas unskilled laborers — 13% decline by 2018

Oil & gas unskilled laborers -- 13% decline by 2018

Image: Transocean

Employed in ’08: 66KProjected for ’18: 57K

7K jobs gained since 2008One 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.

Source: BLS

Inventory and recordkeepers — 13% decline by 2018

Inventory and recordkeepers -- 13% decline by 2018

Employed in ’08: 72KProjected for ’18: 62K

6.1K jobs lost alreadyMore job loss coming. Improved inventory software and technology mean these jobs are fading. Check out what robots can do –>

Source: BLS

Correspondence clerks — 14% decline by 2018

Correspondence clerks -- 14% decline by 2018

Employed in ’08: 14KProjected for ’18: 12K

5.2K jobs lost alreadyThe first jobs to go in a recession, these could rebound slightly by 2018. But will new jobs go to temp workers?

Source: BLS

Electronics assemblers — 15% decline by 2018

Electronics assemblers -- 15% decline by 2018

Employed in ’08: 298KProjected for ’18: 254K

23K jobs lost alreadyMore job loss coming. You know where electronics are cheaper? Foxconn.

Source: BLS

Machine operators — 15% decline by 2018

Machine operators -- 15% decline by 2018

Employed in ’08: 86KProjected for ’18: 73K

15K jobs lost alreadyAfter a major hit in the recession, the industry may stabilize or trickle back.

Source: BLS

Miscellaneous plant and system operators — 15% decline by 2018

Miscellaneous plant and system operators -- 15% decline by 2018

Employed in ’08: 120KProjected for ’18: 102K

2.2K jobs lost alreadyMore 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.)

Source: BLS

Photo processors and machine operators — 16% decline by 2018

Photo processors and machine operators -- 16% decline by 2018

Employed in ’08: 73KProjected for ’18: 61K

6.7K jobs lost alreadyAnother dying technology in favor of digital film. Case in point is the near bankruptcy of Kodak.

Source: BLS

Machine parts manufacturers — 17% decline by 2018

Machine parts manufacturers -- 17% decline by 2018

Employed in ’08: 444KProjected for ’18: 368K

30.2 thousand jobs lost alreadyLots of job loss already and more coming, with parts cheaper and sometimes better in other countries.

Source: BLS

Computer operators — 19% decline by 2018

Computer operators -- 19% decline by 2018

Employed in ’08: 110KProjected for ’18: 90K

23K jobs lost alreadyOne digital job that isn’t surging. Mainframe and system computer operators are in low demand as companies use personal computers and computer literacy grows.

Source: BLS

Oil & gas derrick operators — 19% decline

Oil & gas derrick operators -- 19% decline

Employed in ’08: 93KProjected for ’18: 75K

1.7K jobs gained since 2008Once again, the oil & gas sector weathered the recession well. Will it beat the BLS projections for 2018?

Source: BLS

Extraction worker helpers — 19% decline by 2018

Extraction worker helpers -- 19% decline by 2018

Employed in ’08: 26KProjected for ’18: 21K

460 jobs lost alreadyA few jobs lost, but with the rest of the oil & gas industry these jobs have been stable. But the BLS predicts a downturn…

Source: BLS

Bookbinders and bindery workers — 19% decline by 2018

Bookbinders and bindery workers -- 19% decline by 2018

Employed in ’08: 67KProjected for ’18: 54K

8.92K jobs lost alreadyWith the printed word in decline, these guys are losing out.

Source: BLS

Utilities meter readers –20% decline by 2018

Utilities meter readers --20% decline by 2018

Employed in ’08: 45KProjected for ’18: 36K

3.9K jobs lost alreadyAnother consequence of improved technology and software, which allows companies to regulate usage without sending a technician.

Source: BLS

Shoe and leather workers — 21% decline by 2018

Shoe and leather workers -- 21% decline by 2018

Employed in ’08: 14KProjected for ’18: 11K

690 jobs lost alreadyMore job loss coming as factories move to China and elsewhere.

Source: BLS

Desktop publishers — 23% decline by 2018

Desktop publishers -- 23% decline by 2018

Image: zen on flickr

Employed in ’08: 26KProjected for ’18: 20K

6.5K jobs lost alreadyDesktop publishers create printed material for companies. But does anyone still print?

Source: BLS

File clerks — 23% decline by 2018

File clerks -- 23% decline by 2018

Employed in ’08: 212KProjected for ’18: 163K

26K jobs lost alreadyMore job loss coming as software takes over and — hopefully — efficiency increases.

Source: BLS

Pumping station operators — 25% decline by 2018

Pumping station operators -- 25% decline by 2018

Employed in ’08: 33KProjected for ’18: 25K

70 jobs lost alreadyLow 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.

Source: BLS

Order clerks — 26% decline by 2108

Order clerks -- 26% decline by 2108

Employed in ’08: 246KProjected for ’18: 182K

29K jobs lost alreadyAnother casualty of improved software and technology.

Source: BLS

Semiconductor processors — 32% decline by 2018

Semiconductor processors -- 32% decline by 2018

Employed in ’08: 32KProjected for ’18: 22K

11K jobs lost alreadyLots of job loss already, off to China and Japan.

Source: BLS

Sewing machine operators — 34% decline by 2018

Sewing machine operators -- 34% decline by 2018

Employed in ’08: 212KProjected for ’18: 141K

35 thousand jobs lost alreadyMore job loss coming by 2018, continuing a decades-old decline in American textiles.

Source: BLS

Textile machine operators — 39% decline by 2018

Textile machine operators -- 39% decline by 2018

Employed in ’08: 100KProjected for ’18: 61K

27K jobs lost alreadyAgain, textile workers are getting murdered by machines and outsourcing.

Source: BLS

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