Fast Disappearing Jobs

The Bureau of Labor Statistics says the average job in the U.S. will expand its workforce by 7% through 2026, but not all industries will be so lucky.

About 17% of the 818 occupations the Bureau of Labor Statistics tracks will actually lose more workers than they add between 2016 and 2026.

Here are some of the occupations the bureau says will experience the largest decline over the next seven years, each losing more than 20% of their workers.

  1. Locomotive firers. Median annual wage: $63,820. Projected job loss through 2026: -79%. In the next couple of years, more than three-quarters of the people who hold this title will be fired or laid off. Firers monitor tracks and train instruments checking for dragging equipment, obstacles on the tracks and other potential safety problems. Very few trains will keep them on, as a lot of their work has become automated or is now done by the locomotive engineer or conductor.
  2. Respiratory therapy technicians. Median annual wage: $51,210. Projected job loss through 2026: -56%. These healthcare workers assist respiratory therapists and physicians in caring for patients who have trouble breathing, maybe because of a chronic respiratory diseases such as asthma or emphysema.
  3. Parking enforcement workers. Median annual wage: $39,840. Projected job loss through 2026: -35%. These workers patrol an assigned an area, such as a parking lot or city street, and issue tickets or citations to cars parked illegally or cars that have overstayed their parking time limit.
  4. Word processors and typists. Median annual wage: $39,750. Projected job loss through 2026: -33%. These office workers type up letters, reports, forms or other material from rough drafts, voice recording, or other documents using either a word processor, computer or typewriter. Some may also perform other clerical duties commonly done by secretaries and other administrative assistants.
  5. Watch repairers. Median annual wage: $39,910. Projected job loss through 2026: -30%. As the name suggests, these workers repair, clean and adjust timing-keeping instruments, such as watches and clocks. The popularity of smartphones likely diminished people’s need for other time tracking devices.
  6. Motor vehicle electronic-equipment installers and repairers. Median annual wage: $35,590. Projected job loss through 2026: -26%. These workers install and repair the sound, security and navigation equipment used in vehicles. As car companies continue to roll out models with more advanced sound, security, entertainment and navigation systems, these workers receive fewer calls since these higher-quality new systems typically require less maintenance and upkeep than previous models did.
  7. Foundry mold and core makers. Median annual wage: $35,430. Projected job loss through 2026: -24%. These workers make or form wax or sand cores or molds used in the production of metal castings in foundries. The number of positions is expected to drop because of improvements to and increased usage of labor-saving machinery and the fact that any U.S. manufacturers have moved their production to foreign counties.
  8. Metal pourers and casters. Median annual wage: $37,730. Projected job loss through 2026: -23%. These workers operate hand-controlled mechanisms to pour and regulate the flow of molten metal into molds to produce castings or ingots. Technological advances in the machinery used in this process will lower demand for human workers, as will the continued competition metal manufacturing industries face from foreign companies for orders from U.S. customers.
  9. Computer operators. Median annual wage: $45,840. Projected job loss through 2026: -23%. These tech workers monitor electronic data-processing equipment, respond to operation and error messages and may enter commands at a computer terminal and set controls on computers and peripheral devices.
  10. Telephone operators. Median annual wage: $37,240. Projected job loss through 2026: -23%. These workers provide information to customers by consulting alphabetical, geographical or other directories and assist with special billing requests, such as charges to a third party and credits or refunds for incorrectly dialed numbers or bad connections. Some may also handle emergency calls or help children or people with physical disabilities make telephone calls.
  11. Mine shuttle-car operators. Median annual wage: $56,340. Projected job loss through 2026: -22%. These workers operate diesel or electric-powered shuttle cars in underground mines to transport materials from the working face of a mine to mine cars or conveyors.
  12. Data-entry keyers. Median annual wage: $32,170. Projected job loss through 2026: -21%. These workers are responsible for inputting information into electronic or digital systems using data entry devices, such as keyboards or photo composing perforators. They may also need to verify the data entered and prepare materials for printing.
  13. Postmasters and mail superintendents. Median annual wage: $75,970. Projected job loss through 2026: – 21 percent. These federal workers handle the operational and administrative services of a post office. A combination of automated sorting systems, cluster mailboxes and tight budgets will drastically reduce the number of all postal workers working by 2026, according to the bureau. Add in the fact that more people are opting for electronic bill pay and email to handle tasks that once only went through the mail and the demand for these services isn’t what it once was.
  14. Coil winders, tapers, and finishers. Median annual wage: $34,400. Projected job loss through 2026: – 21 percent. These workers assist in creating electric and electronic products such as resistors, transformers, generators and electric motors by winding the wire coils of electrical components. Improved processes, tools, and increased automation are expected to make this manufacturing sector more efficient and, thus, require fewer workers.
  15. Hand-grinding and polishing workers. Median annual wage: $29,550. Projected job loss through 2026: – 20 percent. These workers grind, sand and polish a variety of metal, wood, stone, clay, plastic or glass objects using hand tools or hand-held power tools.

Can ‘Net Zero’ Help Reinvent Cities?

“Net zero,“ which refers to buildings that produce enough energy to offset what they use, is a growing buzzword in residential and commercial construction. Net zero, sometimes called “zero energy”, helps pave the way for sustainability and savings on utility costs. Tim Weisheyer, broker-owner of Dream Builders Realty in Kissimmee, Fla., also hopes to show how net zero buildings can help recast Osceola County as a tech-forward hub. Weisheyer has been an integral part of the process of building what reportedly is the first net zero high school in the state of Florida.

In recent years, a handful of public and private net zero K-12 school projects have popped up across the country. School districts are largely using it as a way to lower utility costs and reduce operational costs. In Osceola County, city leaders want to also use its newly-built net zero school as a model for sustainability and as a teaching tool for the next generation of tech workers. That could prove beneficial to its economy, too: High-paying tech jobs have long been the silver bullet behind several leading housing markets.

Osceola County expects its population to double by 2040 and boasts a rapidly evolving economy. Tourism, including Walt Disney World Resort, and agriculture are its two main industries, but Weisheyer says the county is on the cusp of adding technology as a top-tier draw. Weisheyer, who serves on the Chamber of Commerce in his community, traveled with business leaders and lawmakers to Austin, Texas, to see how the city revitalized its economic development from a college town into a major tech hub.

From that, NeoCity was born in Osceola County to reinvent a 500-acre tract of land into a master-planned community that will serve as a tech hub for Central Florida. Weisheyer, who also serves as chairman of the Osceola County School Board, realized schools needed to part of that vision. “We need to make sure to develop education programs to develop the skilled workforce that we would need to support this,” he says.

As a byproduct of that vision, NeoCity Academy is set to open in August. The 500-student, demonstration high school has 45,000-square-feet and cost $15 million to build. As a net zero building, operational costs will remain low and unlock savings to the school district over the long term. The building was designed to use 76 percent less energy than a typical public school in the area. NeoCity Academy is dubbed as an immersive learning school that offers curriculum paths in the engineering, biomedical and cybersecurity fields.

The design of the building was well-thought-out to focus on energy efficiency, including a focus on air-tightness and the positioning of classrooms to maximize natural light and help lower utility costs. Solar panels on rooftops and walkway awnings also add electricity to its grid. LED lighting, integrated functions for water management and sensors throughout the building also help monitor indoor air quality and temperatures. The building’s energy production and usage will be displayed in real time on a building educational dashboard that can be used by teachers and students as part of the curriculum.

While not well-known, the south central Kansas town of Greensburg is an environmental survivor. The town was nearly destroyed by a tornado in 2007 but was rebuilt as one of the most eco-conscious places in the world. It was the first U.S. City to fully adopt LED street lights, and it gets 100% of its power from renewable energy.

Simple Skills Make You Likable

It only takes just one conversation to make others like you. Here are some simple ways to start crafting a “million-dollar personality” and become the most likable person in the room:

Keep eye contact. The first thing people will try to decide about you when they meet you is if they can trust you – and it’s fairly hard to like someone if you don’t trust them. Their decision is made almost entirely unconsciously, and it usually comes down to how well you can balance conveying two things: warmth and competence. One simple way to show you’re paying attention is to make eye contact and hold it. Making eye contact is also an effective way to convey competence, and studies have shown that those who do so are consistently judged as more intelligent.

Smile. Smiling is another simple and effective way to convey warmth. You also can laugh, tell jokes and use positive body language.

Show enthusiasm. Along with a smile, show some enthusiasm and energy, also known as charisma.

Put away your smartphone. “Pay attention. Look at theother person with no interruptions.

Give a firm handshake. Your handshake should be firm, but not too hard, certainly not limp and soft and with no dominance play.

Call people by name. Repeat people’s names numerous times as you speak to them. Tell someone else these people’s names, in case you do forget and need a reminder. Write names down in your phone with a short description of who they are and how you met them.

Practice your listening skills. Listen more than you speak. Don’t just hear words – actively listen. Active listening requires four steps: hearing, interpreting, evaluating and responding. Drop what you’re doing and pay attention. Paraphrase what you’ve heard and ask clarifying questions. Steering clear of quick judgment and jumping to conclusions. Give feedback to let the speaker know that you heard them.

Know how to accept a compliment. Accepting a compliment can be tricky because you don’t want to seem egotistical. Accept the compliment with confidence by using phrases like “Thanks! Hearing that feels really good” or “Thank you! What an amazing experience.”

It’s OK to stroke egos. Flattery grabs people by their ego and is extremely effective. Flattery comes with a caveat. Too much can be a huge turn off, especially if it doesn’t seem genuine.

If someone is interrupted, ask them to continue. Everyone has been that person who is telling a story, gets interrupted, and then has to awkwardly stand by, wondering if anyone was even listening. You can be that person’s liberator by saying something like, “Hey, can you please finish your story. I would like to hear the rest of it.”

Say you’re sorry. Taking accountability for your mistakes is instrumental in changing someone’s bad impression of you. But an “I’m sorry” when you’re not to blame for something can also be surprisingly helpful. Saying “I’m sorry” when someone tells you about something bad that happened to them is an effective way to show that you’re putting yourself in their shoes and showing empathy.

Practice good posture. Stand and sit up straight. Bad posture sends a message that you’re apathetic or unapproachable. If you convey negative body language, no one will get close enough to find out if you’re likable.

Enunciate at all times. Speaking loudly and clearly makes it easier for people to know what you’re saying.
Though yelling can be frightening, speaking loudly enough to be heard can make you sound smarter and more confident.

Be true to your word. Take ownership of your own mistakes, avoid deceit at all costs and be someone your coworkers can always count on to do the right thing. Ultimately this is what trust is all about. If you seem too warm,people may question your competence. If you appear too competent, people may assume you’re cold. Neither doormat nor jerk are particularly likable qualities. Simply be a person of your word.

Don’t complain. Being around negative people is draining.

Make everyone feel included. No one wants to feel left out. When you’re talking in a group, make sure everyone is involved.

End a conversation the right way. Your final words can leave a lasting impression on a person, so use them right. Send people off with a positive remark, such as “I enjoyed getting to know you,” “I hope you enjoy the rest of your day” or “I’ll remember our conversation.”

Put Your Elbow Grease to Work

We’re not talking about spring cleaning. For now forget about the floors, dust and windows. Look to the items you have neglected, maybe forever. There are places in your home could be harboring all sorts of nasty gunk and grime. They might not appear dirty, but don’t forget to clean them to keep them working properly and to keep you and your family safe.

If your broom and mop are coated in dirt, you’re ultimately only spreading it around your house when you’re trying to clean. Soak your mop in a mixture of water and bleach to kill anything that’s seeped into it. To clean your broom head, soak it in water and dish soap then wipe it down and let it dry.

Bath mats on the bathroom floor get just as dirty as your towels do. Dirt, dead skin and more end up there and accumulate, and even if your feet look clean, you can track contaminants to other parts of your house. Wash bath mats regularly and spritz them with white vinegar to clean bacteria between washes.

Gunk and buildup on your iron might make it seem like it’s time to buy a new one. But you can make it as good as new by cleaning it with a vinegar and baking soda paste.

Aside from getting tossed in carts and on conveyor belts, reusable grocery bags can get covered in gunk from your groceries, including dirt from vegetables, juice from leaky raw meat and more. Canvas bags can be washed in the washing machine, while recycled plastic bags can be washed by hand in warm soapy water and air dried.

Most people know that smartphones and tablets are magnets for germs because they touch all kinds of surfaces. There are plenty of electronic wipe products on the market because of this. But most people don’t consider items like their driver’s licence and credits cards when wiping down their personal possessions. These cards are handled by other people and set on all sorts of different surfaces. Use a towel or antibacterial wipe to clean it off and then rub an eraser along the magnetic strip to remove any grime that would make it harder to read.

Washing your sheets and pillowcases is part of your cleaning routine, but what about washing your pillows themselves? Dust mites, a major trigger of allergies and asthma, and their droppings accumulate by the millions in your pillow, as can multiple kinds of fungus, so it’s recommended to wash it in hot water. Check the tag on your pillow to find washing instructions.

Your keys can collect all sorts of germs, grease and dirt. On top of sanitizing them, make sure they’re free of rust by scrubbing them with salt and lemon juice or soaking them in water and vinegar. Toothpaste can also help make keys shiny and clean.

Small appliances are often not cleaned as regularly as they should be. While you might clean the coffee pot, what about the coffee maker itself? Bean debris and hard water deposits build up inside the machine. Run a cycle with half vinegar and half water to flush it out, and then a couple more cycles of just water to clear out the vinegar. You can do the same thing with Keurig machines.

You touch your car’s steering wheel and dashboard buttons after touching all sorts of surfaces, including gas pumps and your dirty exterior door handles, so it shouldn’t be surprising how dirty they can be. Wipe down plastic parts with disinfectant wipe and use leather cleaner for any leather surfaces.

It’s obvious when glass shower doors are grimy. But shower curtains can look deceptively clean. Although they’re constantly exposed to soap and warm water, that doesn’t mean they’re clean. In fact, they’re a breeding ground for all sorts of mold and mildew if not cleaned regularly (ideally at least once a month). You can run plastic shower curtains through the washing machine on the rinse cycle with a little white vinegar or run it through the wash cycle with detergent.

Even the sturdiest trash bag is prone to leave little bits of food and garbage lingering in your trash can that can fester and leave unpleasant smells even after you take out the trash. Small indoor trash cans can sometimes fit in your dishwasher for a thorough clean. For large indoor or outdoor garbage bins, take them outside, add some dish soap, scrub them out and spray them down with a hose.

The exhaust fans in your bathroom and kitchen get just as filthy as ceiling fan blades, but the dust and grease accumulates behind a grille or cover. Blast out dirt from the bathroom exhaust fan with a can of compressed air and wipe the exterior with a microfiber cloth. Remove and clean the mesh filters and fans in your kitchen exhaust.

Even after the rinse cycle, your dishwasher can remain dirty. Hard water deposits, soap scum and other buildup can cling onto the racks, and food can clog the drains. Scrub these places thoroughly, then run a cycle on hot with white vinegar to clean and disinfect. Remember to clean the filter.

Dust accumulates on houseplants just the same as other surfaces in your home. Brush down sleek leaves with a duster or microfiber cloth, or spritz them with water and wipe down. For textured or fuzzy leaves, you can use a toothbrush to get into the grooves.

Kitchen, bathtub and shower drains get a lot of TLC to make sure they don’t get clogged with hair, soap scum and food. But the drains in your bathroom sinks shouldn’t be neglected. Pop-up bathroom sink plugs are easy to forget to clean because you can’t see the gunk surrounding them. But before your bathroom sink gets so clogged it’s unable to drain, disconnect the stopper piece from underneath the sink to give it a good cleaning, and remove all the debris stuck in the pipe above it.

Most people know to wipe down their patio furniture before storing it away for the winter and again getting it out in time for backyard barbecues in the spring. But many people neglect their outdoor umbrellas, especially the inside. Dirt, moisture and bugs get trapped inside and can stain the fabric, allow mildew to grow and possibly even rust the metal mechanisms in the umbrella. Brush or vacuum out debris before washing the umbrella with warm water and laundry detergent. Add bleach to tackle mildew or tree sap stains.

Running over your lampshades with a duster once in a blue moon might not be enough to grab grime that has sunk into the surface. Try rolling it with a sticky lint roller, or vacuum it with an upholstery brush attachment. If your fabric lampshade is stained, soak the lampshade in warm soapy water with laundry or dishwashing detergent, then scrub it clean, rinse and dry.

So many crumbs fall into the bottom of a toaster. When these accumulate, they can start to burn, creating an unappetizing smell, or even catch fire. On top of simply dumping out the crumbs, wash out your toaster using soapy water and a washcloth, thin scrubber or toothbrush to make this small appliance as good as new.

Many people empty out their dust cup and replace or clean the filters on their vacuum regularly, but some additional steps are necessary to keep this appliance running smoothly. Wash your dust cup with warm soapy water and check your brushes, belts, and hoses to remove any built-up dirt or hair caught in them. It’s important to keep your vacuum clean, because it’s just one of the many areas of your home where dangerous bacteria might be growing.

Happy cleaning, everyone!