Special Report

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

4. Tank and Armored Vehicles Manufacturing

The tank and armored vehicle manufacturing industry is more reliant on government contracts than other industries. U.S. budget cuts to armored vehicle production, as part of the withdrawal from Afghanistan, partly explain the recent revenue declines in the industry. While revenues fell at an annualized rate of 16.3% between 2009 and this year, IBISWorld projects annual declines of just 0.7% over the next four years. The more modest expected rate is due in part to growing demand from foreign governments.

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3. Wind Turbine Installation

Revenue in the wind turbine installation industry fell at an annualized rate of 16.4% in the five years through 2014, and it is projected by IBISWorld to slump by an annualized 7.3% over the next four years. One problem is that production ramped up prior to the expiration of a federal tax credit for wind production. The International Energy Administration projected in its Renewable Energy Medium Term Market Report that growth in new global wind generation capacity would gradually slow each year through 2020.

2. Computer Manufacturing

The U.S. computer manufacturing industry has struggled with increased competition from abroad, as foreign companies benefit from less expensive labor. Further, global PC sales have declined in recent years, as many consumers have opted for smartphones and tablets instead. PC sales, however, may have found a bottom, as market research firms Gartner and IDC both reported better than expected shipments in the third quarter of the year. Both also reported that hyperscale data centers that provide cloud services were purchasing large amounts of servers, included in the industry. Still, the outlook for U.S. computer makers is hardly favorable, with IBISWorld forecasting a 5.2% decrease in revenues per year over the next four years.

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1. Recordable Media Manufacturing

Recordable Media Manufacturing was the fastest falling U.S. industry tracked by IBISWorld, with an annualized 18.4% decline between 2009 and 2014. The rise of digital media and online streaming services can explain the growth of many thriving U.S. industries. The trend can also explain the drop in demand for recordable media products such as discs and tapes. However, the recordable media manufacturing industry does not include circuit board-based storage, MP3 players, flash drives, or hard disk. The increased use of these digital storage devices has directly contributed to the industry’s decline. Industry revenues fell by an annualized rate of 18.4% since 2009 to less than $2 billion this year.

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