With a fluctuating economy and the constant introduction of new technology and advancements, it comes as no surprise that our job market changes with the times. While some careers such as solar installers, home health aides and information security analysts continue to grow in demand, others have declined significantly and will continue to do so in the future.
To establish which jobs are included on our list, we looked at the Bureau of Labor Statistics' occupational outlook handbook. Based on the projection range from 2018 to 2028, we pulled the jobs that have the highest negative growth rate, meaning they are expected to steadily diminish.
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Respiratory therapy technicians
This occupation has the fastest declining job outlook at minus 57%. Respiratory therapists perform chest exams and diagnose lung diseases, breathing disorders or other issues related to the lungs and airways. Because of changes in the U.S. healthcare system due to initiatives set forth by the Affordable Care Act, respiratory technicians now need more advanced training and education in order to meet the critical role they serve.
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Parking enforcement workers
Anyone with a high school diploma can work as a parking enforcement worker. Their main task is to patrol public parking lots and city streets, issuing tickets to vehicles that haven't paid, went over time or are otherwise illegally parked. In 2018, there were about 8,600 parking enforcement workers, and that number is expected to decline 37% by 2028. This is because of tools like automated license plate recognition systems that read license plates with a camera.
Word processors and typists
Starting in 1870, typist and stenographer jobs would begin to see an increase. The typewriter was on its way to becoming commercially accepted, and women were entering the workforce at a rapid rate thanks to clerical job openings. By 1930, there were 2 million female stenographers and typists, compared to just seven in 1870. Wages were low, but it was a social and economic win for female workers. Now, word processors and typists are seeing a 34% decline.
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Before the invention of the chargeable smartwatch, mechanical watches were a luxury item comprising hundreds of working parts. A simple iteration had at least 130 components working together to keep time. The growth rate for the occupation is at minus 30% now, in part due to the fact that modern timepieces don't require the delicate repairs of their antique predecessors.
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Cutters and trimmers
With a projected decline of 28%, this job involves marking or discarding defect items, trimming excess materials from the production process and positioning templates and other measurement materials. Automated cutters and trimmers have streamlined the process.
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Postmasters and mail superintendents
Postmaster is an occupation that is declining by 27% now, but it was once held by people you might not know got their start with these positions: Benjamin Franklin, William Faulkner and Abraham Lincoln. Each of them has been commemorated on postage stamps for the United States Postal Service. In recent years, some roles within the U.S. Postal Service have been eliminated or consolidated with the goal of cutting costs.
Mine shuttle car operators
Oftentimes, it is the shuttle car operator's job to travel deepest within the mine. The task poses many dangers, even with innovations to technology, and an industry's most perilous jobs are often the first to be replaced by automation to protect workers. In 2018, there were 1,700 documented operators, and the growth rate is estimated to decline 25%.
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Similar to the female-hiring boom in clerical jobs like typewriting, women also dominated the switchboard-operating scene back in the early days of telecommunication because they were a means of cheap labor compared to men, and they were considered more adept conversationalists. The minus 24% growth rate nowadays is a sign of modern technology and the ability to place calls directly.
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A high school diploma is all you need to monitor, control and process data involving businesses, scientific findings and engineering information as a computer operator. This occupation has a growth rate of minus 24% because today, most of these tasks are part of the job description for other positions within the computer science field. To be a more desirable candidate in this field, an associate's degree in computer science can be what sets you apart from other potential new hires.
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Data entry keyers
To stay ahead of the competition and increase efficiency, companies are relying more on applications that can streamline data entry. Due to changes in market needs, employment growth for data entry keyers is expected to decline by 23%.
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Postal service workers
Service clerks, mail carriers, sorters and processors are all listed at a 21% decline. The reason could be that today, more packages are being dispatched, but there are fewer letters being delivered. Famous people who worked as postal workers include Brittany Howard of the Alabama Shakes, Walt Disney and Steve Carell.
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Prepress technicians and workers
Text and image proofers have a minus 21% growth rate. They are in charge of tasks like formatting the finished pages from designers and clients, including digital and photo typeset and the production of printing plates. New York, Los Angeles and Minneapolis are among metropolitan areas that have the highest employment levels for the occupation.
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Pressers, textile, garment and related materials
No formal education is required for this occupation. It involves the pressing and shaping of textile articles by hand or machine, and the growth rate is minus 21%. Dry cleaning and laundry services currently have the highest level of industry employment for this type of job, but the dry cleaning business has declined over the past decade.
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Photographic process workers and machine operators
Employees in the business of developing and processing images from film and other digital media will see a 21% decline in the years leading up to 2028. The introduction of memory cards and digital cameras is partially to blame for the diminishing occupation in film development.
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Textile bleaching and dyeing machine operators
Automated textile machinery has been created for nearly every stage in the manufacturing process. Textile machine operators that work on bleaching, dyeing, finishing, shrinking or washing fibers and textiles will experience a growth rate of minus 19% in their field.
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Grinding and polishing workers
Nonmetallic mineral product manufacturing and coating, engraving, heat treating and allied activity industries see the highest levels of employment for grinding and polishing workers who work by hand. The growth rate is expected to decline 19% in the coming years.
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Quality control inspectors
With a job outlook at minus 18%, those who examine products and materials for imperfections and other defects are beginning to see the effects of improved technology and automation. New tools can boost daily productivity for workers, but they can also diminish the need for as many inspectors.
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The ability to silence calls from unknown numbers directly from your phone settings and the use of third-party apps that work much the same way might be the reason for the decline of telemarketing positions. The growth rate is currently at minus 17%.
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The projected 16% decline in employment for digital page layout designers is due to companies merging job responsibilities. Workers being hired with a background in graphic and web design or general editing capabilities are taking on the tasks previously handled by desktop publishers.
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Print binding and finishing workers
Books no longer need to be bound by hand due to machines that can do the work much more efficiently. People who hold the job typically finish already-printed products by hand or simply set up and monitor the work of the machine. Technology, again, explains the minus 15% growth rate. Book-lovers shouldn't despair, however, as librarians are still in demand at some of the world's most breathtaking libraries.
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A combination of a high school diploma and on-the-job training will help potential workers gain jobs operating logging machinery. The expected 14% decline in job outlook might change course when the need to replace retired workers or those who leave the industry comes around, so it could still be a lucrative career path that doesn't require a bachelor's degree.
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Most floral designers currently create their picture-worthy arrangements in flower shops or grocery stores. It's not just the job, but rather the floral industry as a whole that is beginning to see a decline. Jobs as designers will see a growth rate of minus 14% over the next few years.
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Office machine operators
Operating photocopy, photographic or duplicating machines is an occupation currently held by over 50,000 employees. Data processing is the industry with the highest concentration of machine operator employees, but the growth rate is at minus 13%.
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Fabric and apparel patternmakers
Cut and sew apparel manufacturing has the highest level of employment for fabric and apparel patternmakers. A high school diploma is typical for an entry-level position in this field, though the job outlook has a projected 13% decline.
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Online banking and automated tellers are the cause of the 12% decline in bank teller occupations. Traditional banking jobs might be on the decline, but the need for human guidance on financial advice is still preferred by 78% of U.S. retail bank customers, according to a 2019 study from J.D. Power.
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While the job outlook for pharmacists is projected to remain steady and the healthcare industry is growing, the need for pharmacy aides is declining by 12%. These employees record the delivery of drugs, store new pharmaceuticals, make notes on stock needs and may accept prescriptions to fill.
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Motion picture projectionists
Gone is Hollywood's Golden Age and the era of physical film reels, which means the growth rate is dwindling for those employed in the projection and sound reproduction of motion pictures. The occupation is currently declining by 12%.
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Utility meter readers
Employment that involves walking from home to home reading and recording data on electric, gas, water and steam consumption is falling by 12% due to the rise of electronic meters. Local governments currently have the highest levels of recruitment.
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Printing press operators
When Johannes Gutenberg invented the printing press in the 15th century, he probably didn't foresee the downfall of its use in the 21st century. There is a growth rate of minus 12% for the operation of digital, letterpress, lithographic, flexographic and gravure prints.
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Sewing machine operators
In 1831, iterations of the first sewing machine to receive a patent were destroyed by fearful tailors. They thought the machine would crush business. Today, those who operate the machine and aid in the manufacturing of garments are declining by 12%.
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Textile cutting machine setters, operators and tenders
Those who set up, operate or otherwise handle the machines that cut various textiles are expected to see a 12% decline in their industry. Textile product mills and textile furnishing mills have the highest numbers of employment.
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Assemblers and fabricators
Robotics and automation advancements are the cause of decreasing availability in the assembly and fabricator market. There are over a million recorded jobs in the industry now, but that number is expected to decline by 11% by 2028.
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Manufactured building and mobile home installers
Having a knowledge of construction, building materials and methods, and design techniques are some of the skills necessary for manufactured building and mobile home installers, but the growth rate is at minus 11%. This is in part because the mobile home industry is the fastest-dying industry in America, according to a report from IBISWorld.
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Paper goods machine setters, operators and tenders
There were just under 100,000 paper goods setters, operators and tenders employed in 2018, and by 2028, that number will drop by 10%. The paper mill industry and paper product manufacturing have the highest concentration of employment for this career.
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Adult literacy and high school equivalency diploma teachers
With an average salary of $53,630, teachers that instruct adults at public schools, community colleges or community-based organizations are starting to see a decline in their profession by 10%. This decrease is most likely a result of a corresponding decline in enrollment. While some of the careers on this list required bachelor's degrees, that level of education certainly wasn't a prerequisite for all of them. If you're exploring career paths that don't require a bachelor's degree, here are the highest-paying gigs you can get with an associate degree or high school diploma.
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