Special Report

America's 25 Dying Industries

Source: Ikiwaner / Wikimedia Commons

5. Uranium-radium-vanadium ore mining
> Employment change 2009-2018: -63.3%
> Employment total: 334
> 10-yr. change in avg. annual pay: +59.1%
> Avg. annual pay: $107,479

There are far fewer people working to mine uranium, radium, and vanadium ore mining now than there were a decade ago. Between 2009 and 2018, overall employment in the industry fell by 63.3%.

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4. Business and secretarial schools
> Employment change 2009-2018: -68.3%
> Employment total: 4,909
> 10-yr. change in avg. annual pay: +24.6%
> Avg. annual pay: $43,647

This industry consists of private institutions that primarily teach somewhat outdated office procedures and secretarial skills, such as word processing. In the last decade, employment in such establishments fell by over two-thirds.

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3. Port and harbor operations
> Employment change 2009-2018: -70.1%
> Employment total: 6,110
> 10-yr. change in avg. annual pay: +2.1%
> Avg. annual pay: $70,773

Employment in port and harbor operations has fallen by over 70% in the last decade, more than in all but two other industries. The decline is likely attributable in part to increased automation and larger vessels that can carry more cargo and require fewer workers.

2. One-hour photofinishing
> Employment change 2009-2018: -74.9%
> Employment total: 547
> 10-yr. change in avg. annual pay: +28.3%
> Avg. annual pay: $29,837

Photofinishing laboratories are shuttering operations as digital and smartphone camera technology continues to improve. The number of people working in the once ubiquitous one-hour photofinishing establishments fell by nearly 75%. Over the same period, the number of businesses offering one-hour photo development declined by 66.4%.

Source: Zsteves / Getty Images

1. Hydroelectric power generation
> Employment change 2009-2018: -82.7%
> Employment total: 6,538
> 10-yr. change in avg. annual pay: +29.9%
> Avg. annual pay: $121,336

The electricity grid in the United States is becoming less and less dependent on hydroelectricity. In the middle of the 20th century, about 30% of the electricity generated nationwide came from hydraulic sources. Today, hydroelectricity accounts for only about 7% of the energy mix. Still, recent declines in employment in the industry are more attributable to technological advances that reduce the need for personnel than declining demand.