America’s Disappearing Jobs

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5. Brickmasons, Blockmasons, Stonemasons, Tile and Marble Setters — Helpers
> 10-year job pct. decline: -60%
> 10-year job decline: -36,430
> Total employed (2012): 24,310
> Median annual pay (2012): $28,220

Helpers for contractors work in the construction sector and are typically employed to assist in at least one or more phases of a construction project, ranging from laying the building foundation to applying the finishing touches. Typically, they work under masons and setters, but perform tasks that require less skill. These helpers are one of the occupations that have been extremely damaged by the housing crisis. According to two of the nation’s most widely followed home price indices, the S&P/Case-Shiller 20-City Composite and the Federal Housing Finance Authority’s House Price Index, home prices still remain well below pre-crisis levels.

Also Read: The Worst States to Be Unemployed

4. Drilling and Boring Machine Tool Setters, Operators, and Tenders, Metal and Plastic
> 10-year job pct. decline: -60%
> 10-year job decline: -31,070
> Total employed (2012): 20,660
> Median annual pay (2012): $33,940

According to the BLS, drilling and boring machine workers “set up, operate, or tend drilling machines to drill, bore, ream, mill, or countersink metal or plastic work pieces.” Such jobs often require knowledge of the properties of specific types of metals and plastics, so that materials are fed to the machine at the proper speed and cut to the necessary specifications. However, an increase in automation likely has contributed to declines in employment of these occupations. In the 10 years ending in May 2012, the number of workers handling such machines has fallen from an estimated total of more than 50,000 to just over 20,000.

3. Plasterers and Stucco Masons
> 10-year job pct. decline: -61%
> 10-year job decline: -33,250
> Total employed (2012): 21,040
> Median annual pay (2012): $37,130

Plasterers and stucco masons apply coating to walls and other surfaces for decorative and functional purposes. Because plasterers and stucco masons work in the construction sector, “workers in this trade can expect periods of unemployment when the overall level of construction falls,” according to the BLS. Unfortunately, home construction plunged during the housing crisis, and new housing starts — a measure of the volume of construction nationwide — remain well below historical levels. However, employment in these occupations may rise as construction activity recovers, the BLS notes.

2. Carpenters’ Helpers
> 10-year job pct. decline: -63%
> 10-year job decline: -62,030
> Total employed (2012): 35,870
> Median annual pay (2012): $25,550

Carpenters’ helpers assist in cutting timber and lumber, setting up scaffolding and smoothing surfaces, among other roles. They help carpenters by generally performing lower-skilled tasks. There were close to 98,000 carpenters’ helpers in 2002, but by May 2012, that number had fallen to less than 36,000. In that time, the number of carpenters also fell considerably. The estimated number of carpenters in 2012 was 34% lower than the estimated number for 2002. Jobs for carpentry workers were decimated by the housing crisis, and they may recover if the housing market improves and home building returns to pre-recession levels.

Also Read: The Best Paying Jobs for High School Graduates

1. Advertising and Promotions Managers
> 10-year job pct. decline: -65%
> 10-year job decline: -52,670
> Total employed (2012): 28,420
> Median annual pay (2012): $88,590

No occupation has lost a higher proportion of its jobs than advertising and promotions managers. Such managers help determine the media in which to advertise, conduct market research and help plan advertising campaigns. Likely a major factor in the decline of such positions has been the decline of advertising in print media, such as newspapers, according to the BLS. Kohli added, “during the recession, advertising for cars and many durables plummeted, and this contributed to [job] losses” in both print publishing and advertising.

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