The Ten American Industries Which Will Never Recover

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7. Newspapers. The layoffs  in newspapers began in the 1980s as presses became more automated and tens of thousands of pressmen lost jobs. More recently, the changing habits of news consumption have increased internet readers and hurt print, which has caused more job losses in press rooms. Reporters and editors have lost work as print subscribers have stopped paying for what they can get online for free. One recent study claims that the newspaper industry employee base fell from 767,000 jobs in 1998 to 619,000 jobs in 2008. The U.S. Department of Labor has forecast another 120,000 newspaper layoffs over the next 10 years.

8. Airline Employees. The number of pilots, stewards, and ground crew workers is shrinking as consolidation and the recession have hurt the industry badly. Mergers in the last two years,  between Delta and Northwest and United’s merger with Continental, have decreased the number of large carriers in the US by half. The Bureau of Transportation Statistics reported that the number of airline employees in the US has fallen by 25% since 2001. And the latest merger firings have not yet been announced. Jobs for pilots and flight engineers fell by 30.4% in the third quarter of 2009 to 96,000 from 138,000 jobs in 2008, according to the BLS.

9. Realtors. The National Association of Realtors reports that there were 1,370,758 realtors in October 2006 – the peak of the market. By the end of 2007, the figure was below 1.2 million. The number is below 1.1 million today, and has continued on a downward trend. Home prices have dropped so far and so few homes are sold, that the ability to make money in the business disappears by the day.

10. Bank Tellers. Long before the recession, personal banking had begun to become automated.  Over the last decade, banks have provided increasing access to banking accounts online, through call centers and at ATM kiosks.  This technologically driven shift has been and will continue to be the chief cause of bank teller layoffs. According the the FDIC, since 2008, at the beginning of the recession, there have been 283 banks closed. Compared to the period 2000 to 2007, when only 27 banks closed, that’s nearly 10 times as many bank closings in less than half the time. And as of August 20th, state and federal regulators had closed118 banks this year, making it on pace to exceed the 140 banks closed in 2009. Although nearly all of these banks have been acquired by other financial institutions, bank branch closings still occur – employees and locations are consolidated. The single largest employee group at bank branches are bank tellers, and they will bare the brunt of the continued cost cutting.

Douglas A. McIntyre