15 Jobs That Will Shrink the Fastest Over the Next Decade

Unemployed worker
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Image Not AvailableThe Brookings Institution issued a report in 2019 saying that about one-quarter of all American jobs “will have experienced high exposure to automation” by 2030. That’s another way to say that robots and artificial intelligence will remove nearly 25% of jobs from the workforce.

Nearly a quarter-century ago, Jeremy Rifkin startled America with his book “The End of Work,” in which he articulated how “computers, robotics, telecommunications, and other cutting-edge technologies are fast replacing human beings in virtually every sector” of the economy.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics recently projected estimates on the fastest-declining occupations from 2019 to 2029, with many of them expected to decline by well over 20%, meaning hundreds of thousands of lost jobs in a decade.

Read on to check out the jobs expected to see the greatest decline by 2029.

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

Worker using a forging machine
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These workers set up, operate or tend forging machines that are used to form or shape metal or plastic parts. Despite the decline that the occupation faces nationally, it has been growing wildly in recent years in one particular state, as we reported in “The Fastest-Growing Jobs in Every State.”

Employment in 2019: 16,400 jobs

Projected employment in 2029: 13,000 jobs

Projected job decline for 2019-2029: 21.1%

Median annual wage as of 2019: $39,670

14. Postmasters and mail superintendents

Mail drop boxes
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Employment in 2019: 13,400 jobs

Projected employment in 2029: 10,500 jobs

Projected job decline for 2019-2029: 21.9%

Median annual wage as of 2019: $76,900

13. Legal secretaries and administrative assistants

Young professional working in an office
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Employment in 2019: 171,800 jobs

Projected employment in 2029: 133,800 jobs

Projected job decline for 2019-2029: 22.1%

Median annual wage as of 2019: $47,300

11. Timing device assemblers and adjusters (tie)

Digital clock
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These workers do precision assembling or adjusting of timing devices that have electrical or electronic components, like digital clocks. The occupation does not include watch and clock repairers, however — they are later in this list.

Employment in 2019: 1,300 jobs

Projected employment in 2029: 1,000 jobs

Projected job decline for 2019-2029: 22.3%

Median annual wage as of 2019: $35,080

11. Manufactured building and mobile home installers (tie)

Manufactured home
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Employment in 2019: 2,900 jobs

Projected employment in 2029: 2,200 jobs

Projected job decline for 2019-2029: 22.3%

Median annual wage as of 2019: $33,890

10. Switchboard operators, including answering service

Worker in a headset
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Employment in 2019: 69,900 jobs

Projected employment in 2029: 54,100 jobs

Projected job decline for 2019-2029: 22.5%

Median annual wage as of 2019: $30,610

9. Electronic equipment installers and repairers (motor vehicles)

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Projected job decline for 2018-2028: 28.6%

Employment in 2019: 10,400 jobs

Projected employment in 2029: 8,000 jobs

Projected job decline for 2019-2029: 23.2%

Median annual wage as of 2019: $37,380

8. Data entry keyers

Man working in home office
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Employment in 2019: 172,400 jobs

Projected employment in 2029: 130,000 jobs

Projected job decline for 2019-2029: 24.6%

Median annual wage as of 2019: $33,490

7. Travel agents

Travel agent
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Employment in 2019: 82,000 jobs

Projected employment in 2029: 60,800 jobs

Projected job decline for 2019-2029: 25.9%

Median annual wage as of 2019: $40,660

6. Telephone operators

Closeup Of Happy African American Telephone Operator with Her Colleagues
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While this is only the sixth-fastest shrinking occupation nationally, it ranks as the fastest shrinking occupation of all in several particular states, as SmartAsset recently reported in “The Fastest-Disappearing Job in Each State.”

Employment in 2019: 5,000 jobs

Projected employment in 2029: 3,600 jobs

Projected job decline for 2019-2029: 27.9%

Median annual wage as of 2019: $35,750

5. Cutters and trimmers (hand)

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These workers use handheld tools to cut and trim various manufactured items — from fabric and carpet to stone and glass.

Employment in 2019: 9,800 jobs

Projected employment in 2029: 6,900 jobs

Projected job decline for 2019-2029: 29.9%

Median annual wage as of 2019: $30,200

4. Watch and clock repairers

Worker repairing a watch
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Employment in 2019: 3,200 jobs

Projected employment in 2029: 2,100 jobs

Projected job decline for 2019-2029: 32.3%

Median annual wage as of 2019: $42,520

3. Nuclear power reactor operators

Nuclear power plant tech
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Employment in 2019: 5,300 jobs

Projected employment in 2029: 3,400 jobs

Projected job decline for 2019-2029: 35.7%

Median annual wage as of 2019: $100,530

2. Parking enforcement workers

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Employment in 2019: 8,100 jobs

Projected employment in 2029: 5,200 jobs

Projected job decline for 2019-2029: 36.2%

Median annual wage as of 2019: $40,920

1. Word processors and typists

keyboard
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Employment in 2019: 52,700 jobs

Projected employment in 2029: 33,500 jobs

Projected job decline for 2019-2029: 36.4%

Median annual wage as of 2019: $40,340

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