If you’re on the search for a new job, researching your industry (or a prospective new industry) is important. There are career paths that are growing, offering up all kinds of crazy perks, high salaries, and opportunity to advance. On the flip side, there are industries that are contracting or going through tremendous change, be it through outsourcing, automation, or otherwise. You wouldn’t want to waste your time looking for jobs that offer little promise for the future, which is why you need to make sure you’re looking for jobs in the right place or industry.
Of course, when you’re looking for jobs, you might be in a position in which you can’t be very choosy. You need a job because the rent doesn’t pay itself and because you need to eat. We’ve all been there, and we’ve all worked awful jobs to make ends meet. But if you have a little more wiggle room, or maybe you have an awful job and want something better, researching growth industries should at least help you set your sights on a more promising future.
But we’re not discussing those growth industries; in fact, we’re going to highlight contracting industries or those that are shedding jobs and opportunities. If you work in one of them, you should probably take stock of your situation and gauge your job security. If you don’t, you may want to focus your job search elsewhere.
Using data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, here are 10 jobs and career paths that are experiencing the highest negative growth rates.
10. Parking enforcement
If you’ve wanted to see less parking enforcement in your city, you’re in luck — the hiring of parking enforcement workers is expected to drop in the coming year. Though these positions generally bring in revenue for cities (and for that reason might be spared when cuts need to be made), the BLS expects a 20% drop in their ranks by 2024. Of course, robots may be in use by then to write you a ticket.
9. Watch repairers
Watch repair is a highly specialized field. There aren’t a whole lot of watch repairers to begin with, and it looks like opportunities are about to get fewer and further between. The BLS expects a 25% drop in the number of repair specialists over the next eight years.
8. Postal service clerks and administrators
You may have read before that the postal service is hurting, and it’s true — service clerks and administrators aren’t excluded. Hiring is expected to drop and go in reverse in coming years, meaning that you should probably look for a job somewhere else.
7. Sewing machine operators
Sewing machine operators typically work in manufacturing and production, and those are industries that are seeing mass migration to cheaper labor markets or are being handed over to automation. Rapidly. For that reason, don’t expect to hear about too many sewing gigs opening up.
6. Foundry workers
Another area where jobs are being shed is in the production of metals at foundries. That includes mold and coremakers, pourers, casters, and more. BLS data shows that these jobs are in serious trouble, as the industry moves to areas with cheaper costs and fewer environmental regulations.
5. Manufactured building installers
You may have seen manufactured buildings being transported on a nearby freeway, but you don’t often see the people who actually install them when they reach their destination. Well, those workers are dwindling in numbers, as their ranks are expected to fall by 30% within eight years.
4. Mail processors
We mentioned that the postal service was hurting and that the hiring outlook was bad. Well, it’s really bad if you’re a mail sorter or processor — jobs that can and are being automated at a fast rate.
3. Telephone operators
Remember that you can hit “0” on your phone to get an operator? It’s not really a thing anymore, and as a result, those jobs are being cut loose. Switchboard operators, answering service providers, and operators are all disappearing at a very fast rate, being replaced by less expensive foreign workers or automated systems.
2. Electronics installers
Electronics installation is an industry that is on the ropes as well, as surprising as that is. These days, a Youtube tutorial can walk you through that car stereo installation, so why pay the Geek Squad or Car Toys to do it? These jobs are expected to drop by 50% by 2024.
1. Locomotive assistant engineer
If there is one job that is disappearing the fastest, it’s locomotive firers, or assistant engineers. Yes, it’s not a job that many people have, but according to the BLS data on hand, these positions are being lost very fast. By 2024, 70% of these jobs will be gone, largely replaced by automation and computer systems.