As the economic fallout triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated, feelings of job security are often illusory. Nearly every week over the five months since mid-March, initial jobless claims in the U.S. have topped 1 million — a threshold not previously reached since the Department of Labor began keeping track over half a century ago.
While few could have anticipated the scale of our current jobs crisis, there are certain occupations that, for a variety of reasons unrelated to the pandemic, are becoming increasingly obsolete. Within these jobs, economists predict staggering drops in employment ranging from 20% to over 50% of these occupations’ total workforces in the coming years.
Using data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Employment Projections program, 24/7 Wall St. identified America’s 25 fastest disappearing jobs. Occupations are ranked on the percentage decline in employment from 2018 to 2028. Only occupations at the finest level of detail in the Standard Occupational Classification System were considered. Supplemental data on total employment, educational attainment, and typical education requirements by occupation are also from the BLS EP. Data on median annual wage in 2019 is from the BLS Occupational Employment Statistics program.
Several of the types of occupations on this list, such as those relating to the post office and mail delivery, will likely undergo steep employment declines due to falling demand for these services — as communications are increasingly carried out online. More commonly, the jobs on this list, such as those in the manufacturing sector, are changing due to technological advancements that improve efficiency and reduce the need for human labor. Here is a look at the cities that will lose the most jobs to automation.
The types of jobs that rank on this list also tend to have little in the way of educational requirements. Of 25 jobs on this list, 20 typically require no more than a high school diploma, and three have no formal education requirement. Several are also low paying, with five reporting a median annual wage below $33,500 — for context, the U.S. median annual wage is $39,810 across all occupations. Some, however, have relatively high median salaries. Here is a look at the highest paying jobs you can get without a college degree.