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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.