While few could have anticipated the scale of our current jobs crisis, there are certain occupations that, for a variety of reasons unrelated to the pandemic, are becoming increasingly obsolete. Within these jobs, economists predict staggering declines in employment ranging from 20% to over 50% of these occupations’ total workforces in the coming years.
Using data from the Employment Projections program of the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), 24/7 Wall St. identified America’s 25 fastest disappearing jobs. Occupations are ranked on the percentage decline in employment from 2018 to 2028. Only occupations at the finest level of detail in the Standard Occupational Classification System were considered. Supplemental data on total employment, educational attainment and typical education requirements by occupation are also from the BLS Employment Projections. Data on median annual wage in 2019 is from the BLS Occupational Employment Statistics program.
Several of the types of occupations on this list, such as those relating to the post office and mail delivery, likely will undergo steep employment declines due to falling demand for these services, in this case as communications are increasingly carried out online. More commonly, the jobs on this list, such as those in the manufacturing sector, are changing due to technological advancements that improve efficiency and reduce the need for human labor. These are the 25 jobs disappearing the fastest in America.
The types of jobs that rank on this list also tend to have little in the way of educational requirements. Of 25 jobs on this list, 20 typically require no more than a high school diploma, and three have no formal education requirement. Several are also low paying, with five reporting a median annual wage below $33,500. For context, the U.S. median annual wage is $39,810 across all occupations. Some, however, have relatively high median salaries. Here is a look at the highest-paying jobs you can get without a college degree.
The 24/7 Wall St. analysis shows this is the job disappearing the fastest in America:
Locomotive firers have a projected 2018–2028 employment change of −68.3%. The typical education needed for entry into these positions is a high school diploma or equivalent.
Locomotive firers are charged with monitoring instruments on their locomotive to prevent hazards, such as equipment dragging on the track or track obstructions. The occupation is already one of the smallest in the country by total employment with just 500 workers as of 2018. By 2028, employment is projected to decline by 68.3%, the most of any occupation.
As is the case with many jobs on this list, improved technology and automation will make locomotive firers all but obsolete. Positive train control, or PTC, is a system of computers that communicate with each other to make train travel safer. The system is becoming widely used on American railways and is automating many aspects of locomotive firers’ jobs.