15 Jobs That Will Shrink the Fastest Over the Next Decade

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By Alex Valdes, Money Talks News

The Brookings Institution issued a report in early 2019 saying that about a quarter of all American jobs “will have experienced high exposure to automation” by 2030. That’s another way to say that robots and artificial intelligence will remove nearly 25% of jobs from the workforce.

Nearly a quarter-century ago, Jeremy Rifkin startled America with his book “The End of Work,” in which he articulated how “computers, robotics, telecommunications, and other cutting-edge technologies are fast replacing human beings in virtually every sector” of the economy.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics has listed the fastest declining occupations from 2018 to 2028, with many of them expected to decline by well over 20%, meaning millions of lost jobs in less than a decade.

15. Aircraft assemblers

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Projected job decline for 2018-2028: 22%

These workers are tasked with assembling and installing various parts of airplanes, space vehicles and missiles — from tails and wings to heating and ventilating systems.

They make an average annual wage of $55,530 as of 2018, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics data. The top 10% of earners get $39.61 per hour, while the bottom 10% get $15.51.

14. Data entry keyers

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Projected job decline for 2018-2028: 23.2%

The average hourly wage for this job is $16.22 as of 2018, with the top 10% earning $23.08 per hour.

But the number of workers in this job — which primarily entails keyboard entry of data into a computer system — will decline by more than 43,000 over the next decade, given the projected 23.2% decline.

13. Mail sorters, processors and processing-machine operators

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Projected job decline for 2018-2028: 23.8%

The Bureau of Labor Statistics says that about 41% of people in these Postal Service jobs are black — “the highest percentage of any occupation for the race group.”

The projected 23.8% decline in the number of these jobs over the next decade translates to nearly 24,000 lost jobs.

12. Switchboard operators

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Projected job decline for 2018-2028: 23.8%

This job pays an average of $31,290 per year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Related: The 10 Fastest-Growing Jobs of the Next Decade

That may not be a very high-paying job, but it’s a lot more than the $10 per month than Emma Nutt, the world’s first female operator, made back in 1878.

11. Computer operators

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Projected job decline for 2018-2028: 24.1%

The largest share of these folks, who monitor and control systems to process business, scientific and engineering data, ply their trade in New York, Texas and California.

The top-earning 10% of computer operators make $31.31 per hour, while the bottom 10% earn $13.22.

10. Mine shuttle car operators

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Projected job decline for 2018-2028: 25.3%

As you’d expect, more than 40% of these jobs exist in coal-rich West Virginia, with neighboring Kentucky, Pennsylvania and Illinois rounding out the top four.

The average annual wage is $56,150. For West Virginians, that’s well above the state’s living wage (the minimum needed to cover basics) of $17.36 per hour per adult for a family with two children and two adult workers.

9. Postmasters

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Projected job decline for 2018-2028: 27.5%

It’s a shame this job is disappearing — the average annual wage is $77,040, with the top 10% of earners in this role making $93,630, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

These mail office bosses don’t need a ton of education or experience to work their way into the position. A high school diploma and some on-the-job training typically are the main requirements, according to the BLS.

8. Cutters and trimmers (hand)

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Projected job decline for 2018-2028: 28.4%

Nearly a third of these jobs are in the furniture and apparel industries, using hand and power tools to cut and trim manufactured products — rubber, fabric, wood and carpet, for example.

California and North Carolina have the largest workforces of hand cutters and trimmers.

Nationally, some 10,000-plus workers are employed in this job. But lasers and robotics are faster and more precise than humans for businesses that can afford to implement those solutions.

7. Telephone operators

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Projected job decline for 2018-2028: 28.4%

In some cases, you can still dial “0” to get a friendly operator, to help find phone numbers, make emergency calls or work through bad connections. Most of these workers are employed in telecommunications and by hospitals.

Smartphones, however, are rapidly making many of these jobs relics, now that we can quickly search for a phone number and call it with a tap of the finger.

6. Vehicle electronic equipment installers, repairers

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Projected job decline for 2018-2028: 28.6%

These folks repair, install and work with sound, security or navigation equipment in vehicles.

They earn an average hourly wage of $17.67 per hour, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

States with the largest share of this 10,000-strong workforce are California and Texas.

5. Watch repairers

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Projected job decline for 2018-2028: 29.6%

Watch repairers fix, clean, and adjust watch and clock mechanisms, traditionally working on analog timepieces.

High-tech innovation is helping push this job to the wayside as smartwatches outsold traditional watches in the fourth quarter of 2018, according to Hodinkee, a publication for enthusiasts of modern and vintage wristwatches.

Retail smartwatch sales grew 24% in value in the first half of 2019, compared with 2018.

4. Word processors and typists

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Projected job decline for 2018-2028: 33.8%

A decent number of people — more than 53,000 nationally as of May 2018 — are employed in this field, earning an average annual wage of $41,160.

New York, California and Pennsylvania have the largest populations of people currently performing these jobs.

3. Parking enforcement workers

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Projected job decline for 2018-2028: 36.7%

Miscreant parkers won’t miss these workers, who make a $20.29 average hourly wage to write tickets for illegally parked vehicles and overtime violators.

Although there will be fewer humans patrolling public parking areas and streets, the fast-growing License Plate Recognition technology is still likely to make sure you get nailed for overstaying your welcome.

2. Respiratory therapy technicians

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Projected job decline for 2018-2028: 57.5%

Workers drawn to this career help patients who have trouble breathing from such issues as asthma or emphysema.

With additional education, training and licensing, respiratory therapy technicians may become respiratory therapists, a job with more responsibility and autonomy, according to the Chron, a Hearst publication.

1. Locomotive firers

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Projected job decline for 2018-2028: 68.3%

As of May 2018, there were only 560 of these workers in the entire country, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Locomotive firers make sure there are no obstacles on train tracks and they look out for train signals.

They make decent pay, if you can find a job: a $33.19 average hourly wage and an average annual salary of nearly $70,000.

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Career Magazine: 15 Jobs That Will Shrink the Fastest Over the Next Decade
15 Jobs That Will Shrink the Fastest Over the Next Decade
Not all jobs will be hit hard by automation, but if you work in these professions, look out: Your livelihood may be in danger.
Career Magazine
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