Special Report

17 Disappearing Middle Class Jobs

8. Print binding and finishing workers
> Projected employment change, 2014-2024:
-13.7%
> 2014 employment (thousands): 51.2
> 2024 projected employment (thousands): 44.2
> Median annual wage: $29,500

With the advent of digital reading platforms, the demand for physical books has declined, and employment in the print binding and finishing field is suffering. By 2024, there will be roughly 14% fewer people working in the field than there were in 2014. Like many of the most rapidly disappearing jobs, print binding and finishing is a highly procedural, routinized job that rarely requires post-secondary education. Duties include installing binding machinery and inspecting finished products for defects and imperfections.

7. Word processors and typists
> Projected employment change, 2014-2024:
-15.7%
> 2014 employment (thousands): 90.7
> 2024 projected employment (thousands): 76.5
> Median annual wage: $36,700

Word processors and typists are rapidly disappearing from the American workforce. The duties of a typist range from using a word processor to transcribing voice recordings to typing out final copies of reports, letters, and drafts. The BLS estimates that the number of jobs in the field will decrease by over 15% between 2014 and 2024. Most typists jobs do not require post high school education or certification. Like most disappearing jobs, typists are likely not in high demand due to advances in computers and new technology that have made electronic business transactions more popular.

6. Office machine operators, except computer
> Projected employment change, 2014-2024:
-16.6%
> 2014 employment (thousands): 69.6
> 2024 projected employment (thousands): 58.0
> Median annual wage: $28,510

Only a handful of American jobs are disappearing faster than office machine operators. Workers in the field use machines such as scanners, printers, and photocopiers for clients or coworkers. Like many rapidly disappearing American jobs, the educational requirements for office machine operators are minimal. The majority of the roughly 69,600 employed in the field do not have a post secondary education. By 2024, the number of office machine operator jobs is projected to decline by nearly 17%.

5. Non-postal service mail clerks and mail machine operators
> Projected employment change, 2014-2024:
-18.8%
> 2014 employment (thousands): 104.9
> 2024 projected employment (thousands): 85.1
> Median annual wage: $27,890

The U.S. Postal Service has been truly decimated over the past decade, as the number of employees plunged by 31% over than time. The widespread use of email has drastically reduced the need for physical mail. For non-government mail workers, the trend is not quite as bad, but still worse than most jobs. Thousands of mail clerks and machine operators not employed by the Postal Service will likely lose their jobs through 2024, a projected 18.8% drop.