A recent report released by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) analyzed the projected employment situation in the U.S. for the next eight years. The report identified the industries, such as healthcare and professional and business services, that are expected to have increasing available job numbers by 2020. The report also discussed industries that are expected to decline in that period of time, including agriculture, manufacturing and government.
The reasons for a decline in jobs in any sector are dependent on many factors, including technological change, the status of the overall economy and the outsourcing of employment overseas. While some of these declines are cyclical and may reverse themselves, there are many that are expected to be permanent shifts in the labor force. Here are five jobs that are expected to continue to vanish in the future.
News gathering has changed in a huge way in the past decade. Technology allows news stories and photos to be beamed all over the world and the instantaneous nature of dissemination requires fewer reporters and journalists to have "boots on the ground." Coupled with this is the rise of citizen journalism - everyday people reporting on happenings around them. As more news is being reported online rather than through our televisions at 6 p.m. every evening, traditional jobs for reporters with notebooks and tape recorders are disappearing.
Financial Products Salespeople
Fifty years ago, most insurance products were sold door-to-door by well-dressed insurance salesmen. Most bonds, stocks and other investments were sold in well-appointed bank offices. As with many industries, technology and access to computers and the Internet have changed all that. Consumers can purchase most financial products online with a few clicks of the mouse. Investment analysis is available on the Internet along with annual reports and prospectuses. The need for face-to-face sales pitches has dissipated and these jobs will continue to decline.
Technology Help Desk Support
Most major consumer-oriented corporations must maintain a help desk and technical support function to cater to their customers. In today's global economy, an increasing number of these jobs are going overseas, especially to India. Companies pay outsourced workers in developing countries a fraction of what they would be required to pay American workers, and the cost savings can be significant. This results in a permanent reduction of available American jobs in this industry.
Public Sector Employees
Local and state governments around the country are struggling to balance their budgets. The federal government is battling to get a grip on spending in order to curtail its galloping deficit. One of the largest expenses in any government entity is labor. The U.S. Department of Labor report projects that federal government jobs alone will shrink by approximately 372,000 by 2020.
There was a time when almost all correspondence - whether between individuals or companies - was sent through the mail. Both letters to Aunt Millie and legal contracts physically traveled from one recipient to another and thus was built the United States Postal System. Over time, other couriers entered the industry, including UPS and FedEx. As technologies move forward, more business and personal information is being transferred digitally, through email, fax and text messages. Not only does this form of communication provide the benefit of being virtually instantaneous, but it's also cost-effective. Jobs in the delivery/logistics field have been in decline and are expected to continue to do so in the next decade.
The Bottom Line
While some job opportunities are stalling or vanishing altogether, other industries are creating new jobs and job classifications every day. Understanding labor trends and the projections of future job opportunities can help college students decide on majors and businesses choose strategic direction.