America’s Disappearing Jobs

Print Email

10. Semiconductor Processors
> 10-year job pct. decline: -51%
> 10-year job decline: -22,250
> Total employed (2012): 21,380
> Median annual pay (2012): $33,020

Semiconductor processors have a poor job outlook despite the steady growth in the use of electronic devices. Technology has allowed semiconductors to become too small to be built efficiently by human hands, and production has become more automated and less manual as a result. The high standard for cleanliness in semiconductor work environments also makes robots more desirable. Already, the number of processors shrank by more than 51% from an estimated 43,630 in 2002 to only 21,280 in 2012. Another reason for the job losses is outsourcing. This trend should continue as companies look to lower operating expenses.

Also Read: The 10 Fastest-Growing Jobs in America

9. Prepress Technicians
> 10-year job pct. decline: -54%
> 10-year job decline: -47,950
> Total employed (2012): 41,420
> Median annual pay (2012): $37,260

Prepress technicians work primarily with print publications. But as more content is being consumed through online media, the printing industry has been shrinking and printing occupations have been on the decline. The bleak forecast, however, may be tempered by increased demand for print marketing and print logistics, which include labels, wrappers and packaging products, according to the BLS. Still, traditional prepress tasks can now be accomplished on word processors in advertising offices and public relations agencies and no longer need to take place at the printing press. The quantity of those employed has declined dramatically in the past decade, by more than 50%.

8. Word Processors and Typists
> 10-year job pct. decline: -54%
> 10-year job decline: -112,640
> Total employed (2012): 96,560
> Median annual pay (2012): $35,270

The number of word processors and typists declined by 54% between 2002 and 2012. While this wasn’t the largest percentage drop, it translated to more than 100,000 jobs lost — the highest amount among the 10 disappearing jobs. Word processors spend a lot of their time typing and transcribing letters and other documents. Advances in computers and new technology, as well as the growing popularity of electronic business transactions, may make the administrative and support tasks associated with word processors and typists virtually obsolete. Additionally, many office workers today are very familiar with word processing software.

7. Textile Knitting and Weaving Machine Setters, Operators and Tenders
> 10-year job pct. decline: -57%
> 10-year job decline: -28,300
> Total employed (2012): 21,110
> Median annual pay (2012): $26,540

Textile knitting and weaving machine workers are primarily employed to set up, monitor and operate machines used in the manufacturing of textile products. Decreases in textile worker employment have been largely the result of advancements in manufacturing technology, in addition to the growing tendency to outsource production activity to countries with cheaper labor, according to the BLS. However, while many Americans have blamed the low cost of labor abroad for the loss of such manufacturing jobs, a recent report from the McKinsey Global Institute noted that the majority of manufacturing jobs lost between 2000 and 2010 were due to increases in productivity.

6. Computer Operators
> 10-year job pct. decline: -59%
> 10-year job decline: -101,080
> Total employed (2012): 71,560
> Median annual pay (2012): $38,390

Computer operators refers in general to individuals who operate computer terminals and are responsible for monitoring data processing systems. Workers in this occupation must ensure the machines they work with are functioning properly, which involves checking and responding to error messages, as well as recording and documenting problems. However, the number of workers in these fields is declining because automation and improved computing reduce the need for dedicated operators, according to the BLS.