Special Report

Industries That Will Shrink the Most Over the Next Decade

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Approximately 158.4 million people are working in the United States, or about 11.4% more than a decade ago. While the U.S. economy is extremely resilient, specific industries grow and shrink at different rates due to the forces of technological innovations, globalization, and changing consumer preferences, such as the wide embrace of e-commerce and subscription-based online services. (See every state’s best hiring industry in 2022.)

To determine the 20 industries projected to shrink the most over the next decade, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed Bureau of Labor Statistics employment growth projections from 2020 to 2030 per industry. Industries were ranked based on their decline in employment. Industry output for 2020 also came from the BLS. According to the data, at least 20 industries are expected to shrink over the next decade, shedding more than 1.35 million jobs by 2030.

The largest of these shrinking industries is the so-called “all other retail,” a massive trillion-dollar industry that includes all retail other than motor vehicles, food and beverage, and general merchandise. The “all other retail” industry is expected to shed an average of more than 17,000 jobs annually by 2030, or over 170,000 jobs over the decade, as retailers like Target and Walmart continue to pivot to the e-commerce model. (This is the industry laying off the most Americans.)

But because of its size, this industry will lose only 0.1% of its total number of jobs between 2020 and 2030. Compare that to three industries that are predicted to lose a much larger share of their headcount: printing and related activities; consumer goods rental and general rental centers; and apparel, leather, and related product manufacturing. 

These industries, which generate $139.2 billion in economic output and currently employ 647,600 workers, are forecast to lose a combined 158,000 jobs by 2030. For apparel, its projected job losses amount to nearly 5% of its current workforce.

Other U.S. industries that will lose more than 1% of their workforce through 2030 include cement and concrete manufacturing; ship and boat building; textile mills and related manufacturers, and wired communication managers.

Here are the industries that will shrink the most over the next decade

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20. Religious organizations
> Employment growth 2020-2030: -0.1%
> Employment total, 2020: 1,704,400 – #15 smallest out of 20
> Employment total, 2030: 1,689,500- #15 smallest out of 20
> Total Output: $83.6 billion – #7 smallest out of 20

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19. All other retail
> Employment growth 2020-2030: -0.3%
> Employment total, 2020: 6,814,000 – #20 smallest out of 20
> Employment total, 2030: 6,642,200- #20 smallest out of 20
> Total Output: $1010.4 billion – #20 smallest out of 20

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18. Monetary authorities, credit intermediation, and related activities
> Employment growth 2020-2030: -0.3%
> Employment total, 2020: 2,675,300 – #17 smallest out of 20
> Employment total, 2030: 2,601,500- #17 smallest out of 20
> Total Output: $577.6 billion – #19 smallest out of 20

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17. State government, other compensation
> Employment growth 2020-2030: -0.3%
> Employment total, 2020: 1,825,400 – #16 smallest out of 20
> Employment total, 2030: 1,766,600- #16 smallest out of 20
> Total Output: $166.5 billion – #11 smallest out of 20

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16. Federal defense government compensation
> Employment growth 2020-2030: -0.4%
> Employment total, 2020: 559,800 – #12 smallest out of 20
> Employment total, 2030: 539,300- #12 smallest out of 20
> Total Output: $240.6 billion – #15 smallest out of 20

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15. Plastics product manufacturing
> Employment growth 2020-2030: -0.6%
> Employment total, 2020: 576,000 – #13 smallest out of 20
> Employment total, 2030: 543,000- #13 smallest out of 20
> Total Output: $176.7 billion – #12 smallest out of 20

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14. General Merchandise stores
> Employment growth 2020-2030: -0.8%
> Employment total, 2020: 3,029,800 – #18 smallest out of 20
> Employment total, 2030: 2,796,300- #18 smallest out of 20
> Total Output: $266.3 billion – #16 smallest out of 20

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13. Newspaper, periodical, book, and directory publishers
> Employment growth 2020-2030: -0.8%
> Employment total, 2020: 263,200 – #6 smallest out of 20
> Employment total, 2030: 242,900- #7 smallest out of 20
> Total Output: $128.0 billion – #10 smallest out of 20

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12. Food and beverage stores
> Employment growth 2020-2030: -0.9%
> Employment total, 2020: 3,101,600 – #19 smallest out of 20
> Employment total, 2030: 2,844,100- #19 smallest out of 20
> Total Output: $207.7 billion – #13 smallest out of 20

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11. Postal Service
> Employment growth 2020-2030: -0.9%
> Employment total, 2020: 602,100 – #14 smallest out of 20
> Employment total, 2030: 549,900- #14 smallest out of 20
> Total Output: $48.7 billion – #5 smallest out of 20

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10. Animal production
> Employment growth 2020-2030: -0.9%
> Employment total, 2020: 480,200 – #10 smallest out of 20
> Employment total, 2030: 439,400- #11 smallest out of 20
> Total Output: $222.6 billion – #14 smallest out of 20

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9. Electric power generation, transmission and distribution
> Employment growth 2020-2030: -0.9%
> Employment total, 2020: 380,700 – #9 smallest out of 20
> Employment total, 2030: 349,500- #9 smallest out of 20
> Total Output: $344.4 billion – #18 smallest out of 20

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8. Converted paper product manufacturing
> Employment growth 2020-2030: -1.1%
> Employment total, 2020: 264,100 – #7 smallest out of 20
> Employment total, 2030: 236,100- #6 smallest out of 20
> Total Output: $93.8 billion – #9 smallest out of 20

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7. Cement and concrete product manufacturing
> Employment growth 2020-2030: -1.1%
> Employment total, 2020: 192,400 – #4 smallest out of 20
> Employment total, 2030: 173,000- #5 smallest out of 20
> Total Output: $49.0 billion – #6 smallest out of 20

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6. Ship and boat building
> Employment growth 2020-2030: -1.3%
> Employment total, 2020: 138,700 – #2 smallest out of 20
> Employment total, 2030: 122,300- #3 smallest out of 20
> Total Output: $33.2 billion – #2 smallest out of 20

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5. Textile mills and textile product mills
> Employment growth 2020-2030: -1.6%
> Employment total, 2020: 199,400 – #5 smallest out of 20
> Employment total, 2030: 170,500- #4 smallest out of 20
> Total Output: $44.2 billion – #4 smallest out of 20

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4. Wired telecommunications carriers
> Employment growth 2020-2030: -1.9%
> Employment total, 2020: 500,100 – #11 smallest out of 20
> Employment total, 2030: 411,400- #10 smallest out of 20
> Total Output: $328.8 billion – #17 smallest out of 20

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3. Printing and related support activities
> Employment growth 2020-2030: -2.2%
> Employment total, 2020: 377,800 – #8 smallest out of 20
> Employment total, 2030: 301,300- #8 smallest out of 20
> Total Output: $84.5 billion – #8 smallest out of 20

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2. Consumer goods rental and general rental centers
> Employment growth 2020-2030: -2.7%
> Employment total, 2020: 153,600 – #3 smallest out of 20
> Employment total, 2030: 117,200- #2 smallest out of 20
> Total Output: $34.4 billion – #3 smallest out of 20

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1. Apparel, leather and allied product manufacturing
> Employment growth 2020-2030: -4.8%
> Employment total, 2020: 116,200 – #1 smallest out of 20
> Employment total, 2030: 71,100- #1 smallest out of 20
> Total Output: $20.3 billion – #1 smallest out of 20

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