America’s 10 Most Endangered Jobs

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In the 1967 film “The Graduate,” Dustin Hoffman gets a single word of advice from a family friend: “Plastics.” Half a century later that word would more likely be “Robotics.”

Over the past decade, about 85% of lost U.S. manufacturing jobs have been attributed to robotics, and even if President-elect Trump is able to persuade companies to increase or bring back U.S. manufacturing jobs, the jobs are very likely to be no more than temporary as robotics and artificial intelligence get better and cheaper and replace more workers.

Which jobs will be the next to go? Researchers at CareerCast have combed through U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and identified the 10 most endangered jobs in the country. Some of these jobs are already being lost and all face poor hiring forecasts for the years ahead.

Here is the CareerCast list, together with the negative growth outlook for each job out to 2024 and the current median annual income for the job along with a brief comment on the downbeat projection.

  1. Mail Carrier: Median income, $56,790; growth outlook, down 28%. The BLS projects declines in all phases of mail-delivery service, with automation having particularly profound impact on the hiring outlook for processing and sorting.
  2. Typist/Word processor: $37,610; down 18%. Typists’ duties have been streamlined in recent years, typically absorbed into other administrative positions.
  3. Meter Reader: $38,510; down 15%. The growing popularity of automated meters, which upload usage data directly to a centralized database, cut into the hiring outlook for meter readers.
  4. Disc Jockey: $30,080: down 11%. Consolidation of stations and the use of automated playlists cut into the hiring outlook for disc jockeys.
  5. Jeweler: $37,060; down 11%. Outsourcing of manufacturing and consumer trends moving more toward online shopping, away from brick-and-mortar shops, both contribute to declining outlook for jewelers.
  6. Insurance Underwriter: $65,040; down 11%. Software programs that streamline the underwriting process have made it possible for the work of insurance underwriters to fall under the duties of other titles in the industry.
  7. Seamstress/Tailor: $25,830; down 9%. Consumer habits change, and more clothing shoppers replace worn and damaged products rather than having them repaired.
  8. Broadcaster: $37,720; down 9%. Early-career competition for declining jobs in smaller markets contribute to a negative growth outlook for broadcasters.
  9. Newspaper Reporter: $36,360; down 8%. A long decline in advertising revenue and subscribers has led to cutbacks in the employment of newspaper reporters.
  10. Computer Programmer: $79,530; down 8%. Various levels of programming and code-writing have been integrated into other positions in IT. Individual coding projects can also be hired out to contractors, or is often outsourced.

For more details and commentary, see the CareerCast website.