Special Report

The 10 Dying (and 10 Thriving) U.S. Industries

The Fastest Shrinking Industries

10. Online Mortgage Brokers

The online mortgage brokerage industry was hit hard in the aftermath of the housing crisis, as revenues declined at an annualized rate of 8.7% between 2009 and 2014. The slump in housing starts has presented a problem for the industry, as new homes drive the level of new mortgage loans. IBISWorld forecasts that a pickup in housing starts should allow the industry to grow revenues by nearly 16% a year over the next four years. However, a potential drag could be refinancing activity, which may slow down if interest rates rise in the coming years.

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9. Database & Directory Publishing

While the database and directory publishing industry includes both online and print publications, mainly yellow and white pages, the dramatic decline in print media and the emergence of search engines have contributed substantially to the industry’s revenue slump. According to IBISWorld, the sale of advertising space accounts for nearly 63% of the industry’s revenues, and online advertising has not made up for the lost revenues from printed directories. The industry’s revenue fell by an annualized rate of 9.0% from 2009 to less than $11.4 billion this year.

8. Body Armor Manufacturing

The United States military is the body armor manufacturing industry’s most important client. Following the withdrawal of troops from Iraq, and the continued withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan, demand for body armor has continued to fall. Industry revenue fell by an annualized rate of 9.5% between 2009 and this year. The decline is expected to taper off somewhat, however, to an annualized rate of 2.7%. The slightly slower decline is due in large part to increasing demand among local police forces for body armor.

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