Unemployment might be at a 10-year low, but the job market isn’t what it was before the recession. Many of the middle-class jobs Americans used to rely on to get by have been replaced by those in low-paying industries, such as food service and home health care, a 2016 Wall Street Journal analysis found. For some workers, it’s goodbye to jobs in manufacturing or offices and hello to, “Would you like fries with that?”
The news isn’t all bad. The U.S. economy has also added well-paying jobs in information services, management and consulting, and software development, the Wall Street Journal’s research found. But there’s no doubt many of the jobs that once provided a secure middle-class income to millions of Americans no longer exist. Some — especially government jobs — have vanished due to budget cuts, while others have been shifted offshore or eliminated when technology made workers obsolete. And the worst might be yet to come, at least in some industries.
Though the job market is expected to grow by 6.5% between 2014 and 2024, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the growth won’t be shared equally across all industries. Certain fields, such as nursing and accounting, are looking at double-digit job growth. But others are expected to shrink dramatically.
The endangered jobs include many that pay enough to push a dual-income family into the middle class, as well as many that don’t require a college degree. (A four-person household needed to earn at least $48,000 to qualify as middle income in 2014, according to the Pew Research Center.)
People looking to provide a decent living for themselves and their families might want to think twice before pursuing one of these 15 formerly middle-class jobs, which are expected to experience big employment declines in the coming years. All salary and employment data are from the Bureau of Labor Statistics unless otherwise noted.