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40 Jobs That Are Quickly Disappearing in the US

  • Economic trends like AI and globalization are changing the jobs landscape in the US.
  • Using employment projections from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Business Insider found 41 jobs that are predicted to have much lower levels of employment in 2026 than they did in 2016.
  • Jobs that are quickly disappearing in the US range from metal workers to executive assistants.

With the rise of robots and AI, as well as ongoing economic changes from globalization, jobs from data entry to manufacturing are under threat in the US.

Here are 40 jobs that could be on their way out in the US, based on the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ projections for the percent decline in the number of people in these occupations between 2016 and 2026, along with descriptions of the jobs from the Department of Labor’s O*NET careers database:


41. Molding, core making, and casting machine setters, operators, and tenders (metal and plastic)

They operate machinery that molds or casts metal or plastic parts and products.

Median annual pay, 2017: $31,090

Number of people who held this job in the US in 2016: 145,400

Predicted number of people who will hold this job in 2026: 123,600

Projected decline: 15.0%


40. Extruding and drawing machine setters, operators, and tenders (metal and plastic)

They set up, operate, or tend machines to extrude or draw thermoplastic or metal materials into tubes, rods, hoses, wire, bars, or structural shapes.

Median annual pay, 2017: $34,600

Number of people who held this job in the US in 2016: 72,300

Predicted number of people who will hold this job in 2026: 61,300

Projected decline: 15.2%


39. Structural metal fabricators and fitters

They fabricate and fit parts of structural metal products.

Median annual pay, 2017: $38,450

Number of people who held this job in the US in 2016: 77,000

Predicted number of people who will hold this job in 2026: 65,200

Projected decline: 15.3%


38. Patternmakers (metal and plastic)

They lay out, machine, fit, and assemble castings and parts to metal or plastic foundry patterns, core boxes, or match plates.

Median annual pay, 2017: $45,030

Number of people who held this job in the US in 2016: 3,400

Predicted number of people who will hold this job in 2026: 2,900

Projected decline: 15.5%


37. Office machine operators, except computer

They operate office machinery, such as photocopiers and printers.

Median annual pay, 2017: $31,360

Number of people who held this job in the US in 2016: 59,900

Predicted number of people who will hold this job in 2026: 50,500

Projected decline: 15.6%


36. Textile cutting-machine setters, operators, and tenders

They set up, operate, or tend machines that cut textiles.

Median annual pay, 2017: $26,890

Number of people who held this job in the US in 2016: 15,000

Predicted number of people who will hold this job in 2026: 12,600

Projected decline: 15.8%


35. Fabric and apparel patternmakers

Patternmakers draw and construct sets of precision master-fabric patterns or layouts, and they may also mark and cut fabrics and apparel.

Median annual pay, 2017: $40,460

Number of people who held this job in the US in 2016: 5,500

Predicted number of people who will hold this job in 2026: 4,600

Projected decline: 16.1%


34. Fallers

Fallers use axes or chainsaws to chop down trees.

Median annual pay, 2017: $40,690

Number of people who held this job in the US in 2016: 7,500

Predicted number of people who will hold this job in 2026: 6,300

Projected decline: 16.2%


33. Postal-service mail sorters, processors, and processing-machine operators

They prepare incoming and outgoing mail for distribution.

Median annual pay, 2017: $57,260

Number of people who held this job in the US in 2016: 106,700

Predicted number of people who will hold this job in 2026: 89,100

Projected decline: 16.5%


32. Sewing-machine operators

They operate or tend sewing machines to join, reinforce, decorate, or perform related sewing operations in the manufacture of garment or nongarment products.

Median annual pay, 2017: $24,320

Number of people who held this job in the US in 2016: 153,900

Predicted number of people who will hold this job in 2026: 128,200

Projected decline: 16.7%


31. Textile-winding, twisting, and drawing-out machine setters, operators, and tenders

They set up, operate, or tend machines that wind or twist textiles.

Median annual pay, 2017: $28,270

Number of people who held this job in the US in 2016: 30,800

Predicted number of people who will hold this job in 2026: 25,600

Projected decline: 16.8%


30. Engine and other machine assemblers

They construct, assemble, or rebuild machines, such as engines, turbines, and similar equipment

Median annual pay, 2017: $43,390

Number of people who held this job in the US in 2016: 38,000

Predicted number of people who will hold this job in 2026: 31,500

Projected decline: 17.2%


28 (tie). Executive secretaries and executive administrative assistants

They provide high-level administrative support by doing research, preparing reports, and performing clerical functions.

Median annual pay, 2017: $57,410

Number of people who held this job in the US in 2016: 685,300

Predicted number of people who will hold this job in 2026: 566,200

Projected decline: 17.4%


28 (tie). Aircraft structure, surfaces, rigging, and systems assemblers

They assemble, fit, fasten, and install parts of airplanes, space vehicles, or missiles.

Median annual pay, 2017: $53,510

Number of people who held this job in the US in 2016: 41,800

Predicted number of people who will hold this job in 2026: 34,500

Projected decline: 17.4%


26 (tie). Textile bleaching and dyeing machine operators and tenders

They operate or tend machines to bleach, shrink, wash, dye, or finish textiles or synthetic or glass fibers.

Median annual pay, 2017: $28,280

Number of people who held this job in the US in 2016: 11,300

Predicted number of people who will hold this job in 2026: 9,200

Projected decline: 18.1%


26 (tie). Photographic-process workers and processing-machine operators

They perform work involved in developing and processing photographic images from film or digital media.

Median annual pay, 2017: $27,480

Number of people who held this job in the US in 2016: 26,900

Predicted number of people who will hold this job in 2026: 22,000

Projected decline: 18.1%


25. Legal secretaries

Legal secretaries perform secretarial duties using legal terminology, procedures, and documents.

Median annual pay, 2017: $44,730

Number of people who held this job in the US in 2016: 194,700

Predicted number of people who will hold this job in 2026: 157,500

Projected decline: 19.1%


24. Forging machine setters, operators, and tenders (metal and plastic)

They set up, operate, or tend forging machines to taper, shape, or form metal or plastic parts.

Median annual pay, 2017: $38,650

Number of people who held this job in the US in 2016: 19,200

Predicted number of people who will hold this job in 2026: 15,500

Projected decline: 19.2%


22 (tie). Milling and planing machine setters, operators, and tenders (metal and plastic)

They operate machines to mill and plane metal and plastic parts.

Median annual pay, 2017: $42,650

Number of people who held this job in the US in 2016: 17,600

Predicted number of people who will hold this job in 2026: 14,200

Projected decline: 19.3%


22 (tie). Textile knitting and weaving machine setters, operators, and tenders

They set up, operate, or tend machines that knit, loop, weave, or draw in textiles.

Median annual pay, 2017: $27,960

Number of people who held this job in the US in 2016: 22,200

Predicted number of people who will hold this job in 2026: 17,900

Projected decline: 19.3%


21. Drilling and boring machine tool setters, operators, and tenders (metal and plastic)

They operate machines that drill and bore metal and plastic pieces.

Median annual pay, 2017: $37,270

Number of people who held this job in the US in 2016: 12,300

Predicted number of people who will hold this job in 2026: 9,900

Projected decline: 19.5%


19 (tie). Switchboard operators, including answering service

They operate telephone business-systems equipment or switchboards to relay incoming, outgoing, and interoffice calls.

Median annual pay, 2017: $28,700

Number of people who held this job in the US in 2016: 93,200

Predicted number of people who will hold this job in 2026: 74,700

Projected decline: 19.9%


19 (tie). Prepress technicians and workers

They format and proof text and images submitted by authors, designers, and clients into finished pages that can be printed.

Median annual pay, 2017: $39,910

Number of people who held this job in the US in 2016: 34,600

Predicted number of people who will hold this job in 2026: 27,700

Projected decline: 19.9%


18. Timing device assemblers and adjusters

They assemble and calibrate devices like digital clocks and electronic timers.

Median annual pay, 2017: $34,800

Number of people who held this job in the US in 2016: 800

Predicted number of people who will hold this job in 2026: 600

Projected decline: 20.1%


17. Grinding and polishing workers, hand

They grind, sand, or polish objects using hand tools or hand-held power tools.

Median annual pay, 2017: $28,830

Number of people who held this job in the US in 2016: 26,600

Predicted number of people who will hold this job in 2026: 21,100

Projected decline: 20.5%


16. Coil winders, tapers, and finishers

They wind wire coils used in electrical equipment.

Median annual pay, 2017: $33,310

Number of people who held this job in the US in 2016: 14,100

Predicted number of people who will hold this job in 2026: 11,200

Projected decline: 20.7%


15. Electrical and electronic equipment assemblers

They assemble or modify electrical or electronic equipment.

Median annual pay, 2017: *

Number of people who held this job in the US in 2016: 218,900

Predicted number of people who will hold this job in 2026: 173,300

Projected decline: 20.8%

*The BLS did not include median annual wage data for this occupation.


14. Postmasters and mail superintendents

They plan, direct, or coordinate operational, administrative, management, and supportive services of a US post office, or coordinate activities of workers engaged in postal and related work in an assigned post office.

Median annual pay, 2017: $74,840

Number of people who held this job in the US in 2016: 14,200

Predicted number of people who will hold this job in 2026: 11,200

Projected decline: 20.9%


13. Data entry keyers

Data entry keyers type or otherwise put data into computer systems.

Median annual pay, 2017: $30,930

Number of people who held this job in the US in 2016: 203,800

Predicted number of people who will hold this job in 2026: 160,600

Projected decline: 21.2%


12. Electromechanical equipment assemblers

They assemble or modify electromechanical equipment.

Median annual pay, 2017: *

Number of people who held this job in the US in 2016: 45,700

Predicted number of people who will hold this job in 2026: 35,900

Projected decline: 21.4%

*The BLS did not include median annual wage data for this occupation.


11. Mine shuttle car operators

They operate shuttle cars in mines to transport materials between the working mine face and a conveyor or mine train car.

Median annual pay, 2017: $56,890

Number of people who held this job in the US in 2016: 1,500

Predicted number of people who will hold this job in 2026: 1,200

Projected decline: 21.9%


10. Telephone operators

They provide information to telephone customers by accessing alphabetical, geographical, or other directories.

Median annual pay, 2017: $36,320

Number of people who held this job in the US in 2016: 9,100

Predicted number of people who will hold this job in 2026: 7,000

Projected decline: 22.6%


9. Computer operators

Computer operators monitor and control electronic computer and peripheral electronic data processing equipment.

Median annual pay, 2017: $44,270

Number of people who held this job in the US in 2016: 51,500

Predicted number of people who will hold this job in 2026: 39,700

Projected decline: 22.8%


8. Pourers and casters (metal)

They operate hand-controlled mechanisms to pour and regulate the flow of molten metal into molds to produce castings or ingots.

Median annual pay, 2017: $38,210

Number of people who held this job in the US in 2016: 8,400

Predicted number of people who will hold this job in 2026: 6,500

Projected decline: 23.4%


7. Foundry mold and core makers

They make or form wax or sand cores or molds used in the production of metal castings in foundries.

Median annual pay, 2017: $35,140

Number of people who held this job in the US in 2016: 12,500

Predicted number of people who will hold this job in 2026: 9,500

Projected decline: 24.0%


6. Electronic-equipment installers and repairers (motor vehicles)

They install, diagnose, or repair communications, sound, security, or navigation equipment in motor vehicles.

Median annual pay, 2017: $34,530

Number of people who held this job in the US in 2016: 12,100

Predicted number of people who will hold this job in 2026: 9,000

Projected decline: 25.6%


5. Watch repairers

They repair, clean, and adjust mechanisms of timing instruments, such as watches and clocks.

Median annual pay, 2017: $35,770

Number of people who held this job in the US in 2016: 1,800

Predicted number of people who will hold this job in 2026: 1,200

Projected decline: 29.7%


4. Word processors and typists

They use computers, word processors, or typewriters to type letters, forms, reports, or other material.

Median annual pay, 2017: $39,740

Number of people who held this job in the US in 2016: 74,900

Predicted number of people who will hold this job in 2026: 50,100

Projected decline: 33.1%


3. Parking enforcement workers

They patrol assigned areas to issue tickets to overtime parking violators and illegally parked vehicles.

Median annual pay, 2017: $39,030

Number of people who held this job in the US in 2016: 9,400

Predicted number of people who will hold this job in 2026: 6,100

Projected decline: 35.3%


2. Respiratory therapy technicians

They provide respiratory care under the direction of respiratory therapists and physicians.

Median annual pay, 2017: $50,350

Number of people who held this job in the US in 2016: 10,800

Predicted number of people who will hold this job in 2026: 4,700

Projected decline: 56.3%


1. Locomotive firers

They monitor locomotive instruments and watch for dragging equipment, obstacles on rights-of-way, and train signals during run.

Median annual pay, 2017: $60,360

Number of people who held this job in the US in 2016: 1,200

Predicted number of people who will hold this job in 2026: 300

Projected decline: 78.6%

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