The number of jobs in the United States is projected to grow by 7% in the next decade. Advances in technology and evolving consumer demand will certainly create at least some new opportunities for the American workforce. At the same time, these changes will also make many occupations obsolete.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects changes for each occupation over the decade ending in 2024. 24/7 Wall St. identified the 18 jobs that will shed more than 10% of their workforce due largely to advances in technology. These 18 occupations will see a net decline of more than 300,000 jobs from 2014 to 2024.
Most jobs at risk of being replaced are low-skilled positions that require little to no educational background. Of the 18 jobs on this list, only one — statistical assistants — requires the typical employee to have at least a bachelor’s degree.
Many replaceable jobs involve simple processes that have been automated by recent technological advances, or can be replaced by existing technology that has become more widely available. For example, while the first mail sorting machine processed 15,000 letters an hour and was nearly the size of a room, today’s mail sorting machines fit on a desk and can process close to four times as many letters. As these machines become more affordable, mail clerk employment is expected to decline significantly.
For most businesses, automation makes economic sense. In a study published in 2015 by the management firm Boston Consulting Group, researchers found that while the typical welder is paid $25 an hour, a robot that can perform similar tasks costs $8 to own and operate per hour. That figure may drop to $2 per hour as technology improves over the next 15 years.
As automation has considerably lowered the need for certain jobs, the use of new technologies by consumers has also driven employment declines in certain industries. A majority of U.S. adults now get their news from digital or television sources, and only 20% read print newspapers. As newspaper circulation rates decline nationwide, the number of printing press operators is projected to decline significantly in the next decade. Unlike manufacturing jobs, these are not likely to be replaced by man or machine.
To identify the jobs being replaced by robots, 24/7 Wall St. analyzed employment projections from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) for the period of 2014 to 2024. Only occupations expected to contract by more than 10% were considered. Based on analysis from the BLS Occupational Outlook Handbook and other sources, technological advancement is the main cause for the projected employment decline of 18 occupations.
These are the 18 jobs getting replaced by technology.
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