Author: Maurie Backman | March 12, 2018
It's not all sunshine and roses for these jobs
If you’re in the market for a new job, now’s a pretty good time to be looking. The U.S. economy added 200,000 jobs in January, and wage growth is at its best since the recession. But that doesn’t mean things are all rosy. In fact, there are a number of industries that are expected to decline over the next 10 years, which means job security in these fields will likely be hard to come by. If you’re new to the workforce, you might consider looking outside these industries for more long-term stability. And if you’re already established in these fields, you may want to consider expanding your skill set and keeping your options open.
Tobacco farming in the U.S. has been decreasing for quite some time now, and while that’s perhaps good news from a health perspective, it’s bad news for those employed in the industry. With the advent of smokeless products like electronic cigarettes, consumers are flocking toward tobacco-free products, and manufacturers are pushing them in that direction. In fact, in 2015 alone, manufacturers spent $684.9 million on smokeless tobacco advertising.
Not only that, but consumers are finally getting wise to the dangers of tobacco products. Smoking rates have dropped from 21% of U.S. adults in 2005 to just 15% in 2015, when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention conducted its last survey on the matter. And as demand continues to decrease, domestic tobacco manufacturing -- and the jobs it produces -- will follow suit.
Apparel, leather, and allied product manufacturing
Though there’s certainly some level of demand for leather goods within the U.S., most of the world’s consumers of such goods are located overseas. As such, the leather market has always been a tough one, since U.S. manufacturers rely heavily on exports to stay afloat.
Of course, domestic apparel manufacturing on a whole has been declining over the past number of decades. Back in the 1960s, 95% of clothing worn in the U.S. was produced locally, according to the American Apparel & Footwear Association. These days, however, 97% of clothing and 98% of shoes sold in the U.S. are manufactured overseas. And as a challenging subset to begin with, leather and allied product manufacturing is one of the most rapidly declining industries in the country, thereby making employment hard to come by.
Newspaper, periodical, book, and directory publishers
Like it or not, the demand for print media isn’t what it used to be. With the ubiquity of e-book readers, it’s easy to see why print runs are slowing, and given the shift toward digital subscriptions, it’s clear that a large chunk of consumers would rather access their news online than via a cumbersome physical paper.
Consider this: Between 2000 and 2015, print newspaper advertising revenue fell from roughly $60 billion to about $20 billion. That’s quite a sizeable drop. It also explains why jobs in the publishing industry will be harder to snag in the coming years.
Manufacturing and reproducing magnetic and optical media
We’re all familiar with optical media, like CDs and DVDs, as well as magnetic media, like hard drives. But as demand for these produces wanes, employment opportunities will be following suit.
These days, consumers are increasingly drawn to streaming or on-demand services that negate the need for physical content. And with flash drives rapidly taking the place of hard drives, it’s not difficult to see why a career in this field is a long shot. In fact, employment in magnetic media manufacturing and reproducing has declined by over 60% in the last decade, and it’s not showing signs of picking back up anytime soon.
Wood is a staple in countless American-made products, from furnishings to cigarette filters. But the U.S. logging industry is far from thriving. Heavy environmental regulations have challenged loggers in recent years, leading to a decline in production as well as employment. But we can’t just blame the environmentalists; foreign competition is also heavily at play. Throw in the fact that new automation is reducing the need for manpower, and it’s pretty clear that a career in logging is a precarious one at best.
Then again, perhaps that’s not such a bad thing. At 132.7 fatal injuries per 100,000 workers, loggers are the most likely of any professional to die on the job.
Spring and wire product manufacturing
Fabricated metal products are a part of our everyday life, but this industry has been on the decline since the Great Recession, during which time countless factories were closed, taking jobs down with them. Serious declines in the homebuilding and automotive industries -- both products of the recession as well -- added further insult to injury.
In the years following the recession, much of this industry has moved heavily overseas, thus diminishing the need for local labor. And heavy competition from Mexico and China has made it cheaper for U.S. companies to import their materials rather than source them domestically.
The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.