Special Report

America's 25 Dying Industries

25. Land subdivision
> Employment change 2009-2018: -36.0%
> Employment total: 39,506
> 10-yr. change in avg. annual pay: +47.9%
> Avg. annual pay: $88,506

Over the past decade, overall employment in the land subdivision industry fell from nearly 62,000 to fewer than 40,000, one of the steepest declines in the U.S. labor market. The industry is primarily involved in dividing land into parcels for housing and other purposes.

Source: opengridscheduler / Flickr

24. Air traffic control
> Employment change 2009-2018: -36.5%
> Employment total: 1,917
> 10-yr. change in avg. annual pay: +32.9%
> Avg. annual pay: $77,093

Air traffic controllers regulate the flow of air traffic. While the occupation will not likely disappear anytime soon, the amount of controllers is expected to continue to decline as improved technology allows one controller to handle more traffic.

23. Bituminous coal underground mining
> Employment change 2009-2018: -36.5%
> Employment total: 26,874
> 10-yr. change in avg. annual pay: +20.0%
> Avg. annual pay: $92,029

Coal production is falling in the United States. Between 2009 and 2018, underground coal mining production fell from 439.6 million short tons to 347.7 million. Over the same period, employment in bituminous underground coal underground mining fell from 42,341 to 26,874.

22. Photography studios, portrait
> Employment change 2009-2018: -37.0%
> Employment total: 40,833
> 10-yr. change in avg. annual pay: +27.0%
> Avg. annual pay: $27,433

Between 2009 and 2018, the number of people working in portrait photography studios fell by 37%. The industry is not the only one to have been gutted as a result of fairly recent digital photography advances and as the quality of digital cameras built into smartphones continues to improve.

21. Telephone apparatus manufacturing
> Employment change 2009-2018: -37.3%
> Employment total: 17,946
> 10-yr. change in avg. annual pay: +33.1%
> Avg. annual pay: $132,330

The telephone apparatus manufacturing industry largely produces products like wire telephones, cordless phones, and answering machines — all products that have been made rather obsolete by the cell phone. In the United States, 96% of people have a cell phone of some kind.