Wondering whether openings in your field are narrowing down, or if you will find job openings after investing in a training program? To chart your future, take a look at these jobs on the decline, and what factors may be behind the changes.
As you review the list, remember that a decline means there are fewer openings, not zero. The demand for an occupation in your location could differ from the national trend, and even occupations with declining employment will have some openings as workers retire or move on to other jobs.
Here are the ten occupations projected to have the steepest employment decline between 2012 and 2022:
- Locomotive Firers
- Shoe Machine Operators and Tenders
- Postal Service Clerks
- Log Graders and Scalers
- Postal Service Mail Sorters, Processors, and Processing Machine Operators
- Textile Cutting Machine Setters, Operators, and Tenders
- Postal Service Mail Carriers
- Word Processors and Typists
- Fabric and Apparel Patternmakers
With an anticipated 43-percent decline in job openings, Fallers earn the dubious distinction of rising to the top of the list. (A faller cuts down trees in an environmentally safe manner.) Fallers pair up with Log Graders and Scalers to represent lumber industry occupations that will see a decline in employment. A possible explanation? Demand for timber rises and falls as shifts in the economy dictate whether resources are available for construction, while competition from other countries puts constant pressure on lumber industry jobs.
Employment with the U.S. Postal Service has a major presence on the list, representing three of the top ten occupations. Noted positions are: Clerks – who sell stamps and weigh and post mail and packages; Sorters who process and route the mail to the correct destination; and Carriers who deliver the mail to businesses and residences.
As much of our personal and business communication has shifted to electronic mail, the demand for mail service has changed dramatically in recent years. The number of pieces of first class mail delivered annually by the U.S. Postal Service dropped from 46 billion in 2005 to an estimated 21.5 billion in 2015. Far fewer hands are needed to move the mail from its point of origin to its destination.
And while online shopping has grown exponentially, creating demand for package delivery, a related uptick in package delivery businesses has resulted in a continued drop in demand for USPS services.
Another field predicted to see a steep decline in numbers is Word Processors and Typists, with a 25-percent drop expected. Changes in technology mean that everyone from entry-level employees to CEOs create documents that their predecessors might have relied on Word Processors and Typists to produce.
Also on the list are Shoe Machine Operators and Tenders (who make shoes on machines) and Fabric and Apparel Pattern Makers, Textile Cutting Machine Setters, Operators, and Tenders. Between new efficiencies in the manufacturing industry, and increased purchase of clothing produced in other countries, the drop in demand for shoemaking and textile-related workers doesn’t come as too much of a surprise.
Interestingly, all of the “top 10” occupations on the list share the same education requirement, which is “high school diploma or equivalent.” While there is no clear consensus on the education needs of the future workforce, most experts agree that training beyond high school will continue to increase a worker’s odds of finding employment, and of earning higher wages.
Learn more about which occupations are seeing a decline in openings on CareerOneStop. And check out other occupation reports on CareerOneStop, including: Fastest Growing, Largest Employment, and Most Openings.