Special Report

17 Disappearing Middle Class Jobs

12. Procurement clerks
> Projected employment change, 2014-2024:
> 2014 employment (thousands): 72.3
> 2024 projected employment (thousands): 66.3
> Median annual wage: $39,930

Those working in procurement typically perform buying duties for an organization by preparing and sending out purchase orders, managing bills and billing issues, and ensuring receipt of shipments. As Internet commerce has eased the buying process for businesses, employment in the field is projected to decline by 8.3% from 2014 through 2024. Procurement clerk jobs generally require more education than most of the disappearing American jobs. While a majority of workers in rapidly contracting fields have little more than a high school education, more than half of all procurement clerks have an associate’s degree, and a fifth have a bachelor’s degree.

11. Bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks
> Projected employment change, 2014-2024:
> 2014 employment (thousands): 1760.3
> 2024 projected employment (thousands): 1611.5
> Median annual wage: $36,430

Bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks, while crucial for any organization, will be in considerably less demand in 10 years. Job responsibilities typically include maintaining accurate financial records by tallying, tracking, and categorizing expenses. Due to technological changes, such as improved accounting software, there will be about 8% fewer such jobs by 2024. Jobs in the field tend to require higher education levels than most of the country’s jobs with dwindling demand. Over a quarter of those employed as accounting clerks have some college education, and nearly a fifth have a bachelor’s degree.

10. Travel agents
> Projected employment change, 2014-2024:
> 2014 employment (thousands): 74.1
> 2024 projected employment (thousands): 65.4
> Median annual wage: $34,800

Travel agents are one of the most rapidly disappearing professions in the United States. The job primarily entails booking transportation and lodging and planning itineraries and destinations for clients, tasks the traveler can now accomplish with relative ease through the Internet. Becoming increasingly obsolete, the number of jobs in the field is projected to decline by 12% by 2024. The vast majority of travel agents need little more than a high school diploma as a prerequisite for the job.

9. Printing press operators
> Projected employment change, 2014-2024:
> 2014 employment (thousands): 173.0
> 2024 projected employment (thousands): 151.4
> Median annual wage: $35,100

Few occupations are disappearing at a faster rate than printing press operators. Roughly 173,000 Americans were employed as printing press operators in 2014. That number is projected to drop to 151,400, a 12.5% decline, by 2024. Printing press operators have a range of responsibilities, including setting and aligning the presses, using the proper ink to meet job specifications, and random inspections of printed material in order to identify the need for any adjustments. Declining employment in the field is a byproduct of the decline of the newspaper industry, where revenue has dropped by more than a third since 2005.

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