Job hunters should avoid these 10 dying industries Kiplinger

The Great Recession is over and more companies have begun hiring new employees. But for workers in some industries, the future still looks grim.

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Kiplinger recently analyzed nearly 800 popular jobs and identified 10 that are slowly dying. If you work in one of these areas, it may be time to consider a career change.

10. Door-to-door sales worker

The internet is to blame for the death of the salesman (not to be confused with the Arthur Miller play). Salespeople have been replaced by email offers and web solicitations.

Try this instead: Insurance sales are booming — the number of agents has increased nearly 20 percent over the past 10 years. Plus, the education requirement is just a high school diploma, and the median pay is about $49,000 a year (compared to $20,732 for door-to-door salespeople).

Those with bachelor’s degrees can also consider becoming manufacturing sales representatives; their numbers are expected to grow by 12.5 percent during the next decade, and the median salary is a whopping $74,800 a year.

9. Textile machine worker

While some manufacturing industries are steadily growing, others are dwindling down — and textile production is among them. These jobs have fallen more than 42 percent over the past decade.

Try this instead: Kiplinger says machinists have “a particularly promising future.” The industry requires some specialized training, which can be completed through an apprenticeship program or technical college courses, but the bump in pay is worth it — an average of $40,332 a year, compared to $26,077 for textile machine workers.

8. Floral designer

Nowadays, thrifty consumers would rather buy bouquets at grocery stores or even Costco than expensive floral arrangements.

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Try this instead: Growth is projected for both interior designers and merchandise displayers. While interior design positions typically require a bachelor’s degree, merchandise displayers need just a high school diploma.

However, if your heart is set on arranging flowers, Kiplinger recommends finding a job in a grocery store floral department, where employment is expected to climb.

7. Sewing machine operator

Blame technology and economics for a serious lack of growth in such low-skill manufacturing jobs. Machine operators in America are often being replaced by automated functions or cheap overseas labor.

Try this instead: Other types of machine operators — namely welders, cutters, solderers and brazers — have yet to see their jobs replaced by robots. Their numbers are expected to grow at a rate of 8.8 percent through 2025.

6. Print binding and finishing worker

This industry needs far fewer workers than it did just a decade ago. (We can probably blame a sudden rise in e-publishing for this one.)

Try this instead: If you enjoyed assembling things, considering going into such industries as aircraft structure, surfaces, rigging and systems assembling. Median earnings are $49,762 a year — nearly $20,000 more than what the average print binding worker makes — and only a high school diploma is needed to get started.

5. Tailor

According to Kiplinger, “the rise of fast fashion and online shopping, and the fall of formal wear, all contribute to the declining demand for tailors, dressmakers and custom sewers.”

Try this instead: Creative types could look into becoming barbers or hairdressers. Many are self-employed (50.2 percent of hairdressers, 78.5 percent of barbers), so these career paths are also good for people who enjoy working for themselves. The biggest downside is that the median pay is relatively low — less than $25,000 a year.

4. Upholsterer

In this day and age, people are much more inclined to buy a new inexpensive piece of furniture from a store like IKEA than they are to pay for custom upholstery. Employment in this industry has decreased more than 25 percent over the past 10 years.

Try this instead: Rather than re-cover the furniture, why not make it? The need for carpenters is expected to grow rapidly; an estimated 70,700 jobs will be added by 2025. And the median pay is $38,521 a year, quite a bit higher than the $30,023 for upholsterers.

3. Craft artist

This very low-paid position (the median salary is a mere $15,766 a year) could soon become a thing of the past, thanks to the rise of selling sites like Etsy. It’s better pursued as a side gig, if at all.

Try this instead: There will always be a need for teachers. While a bachelor’s degree is required to teach kindergarten through high school and earn more money, one can receive a salary of $28,300 teaching preschool with nothing but an associate’s degree.

High school teachers have the best prospects; an estimated 82,000 new ones will be needed by 2025.

2. Photo processor

With more and more people printing their own photos at home, the need for photo processors is dwindling.

Try this instead: Major events, like graduations and weddings, will always call for professional photographers. Median earnings are $30,715 a year in this industry that is experiencing slow but steady growth. Kiplinger says portrait and commercial studios will have the greatest demand in the future.

1. Metal and plastic plating and coating machine operator

This is yet another industry where the workers are often replaced by either machines or overseas labor. Employment is projected to decrease 3.2 percent through 2025.

Try this instead: There is an immediate need for operators of computer-controlled metal and plastic machines, as well as programmers of computer numerically-controlled metal and plastic machines. The median pay for both is good — $37,100 for operators, more than $49,000 for programmers.

Read more at Kiplinger.

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Beth Sawicki About the author:
Beth Sawicki is a content editor at Rare. Email her at
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