Finding work and
launching a stable career can be hard enough. Doing so in a dying industry can
make it incredibly harder.
As the economy
changes and technology advances, many industries are growing and expanding,
leading to careers that are
in high demand. By the same token, industries such as newspaper
publishing and various forms of manufacturing seem to be on their last legs.
Companies in dying
industries offer fewer chances for career advancement, stagnant or declining
wages, and frequent rounds of layoffs.
when they don’t keep up with the country’s pace of economic growth. This can
happen for various reasons, such as a change in customer preferences, new
technologies, or emerging substitute industries.
industries bounce back in unexpected ways, such as vinyl record manufacturing
in the past decade. Others, though, continue to decline until they’re lost
forever and placed in the history books.
Bottom line: Stay
away from industries that are in rapid decline and choose stable ones instead that should be
around for a long time.
Here are three
industries in the U.S. that are declining quickly and, barring an unforeseen
resurgence, are destined to fail.
The internet and
social media have significantly changed how Americans get their news. As a
result, the fortunes of the newspaper publishing industry have steadily
declined since the mid-2000s.
circulation in 2018 reached its lowest level since 1940, the first year that
numbers were calculated, according to the
Pew Research Center. Total daily circulation (print and digital
combined) was estimated at 28.6 million for weekday and 30.8 million for
Sundays. Those numbers show an 8% and 9% respective decline from 2017.
such as The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal have seen gains in recent years, but local newspapers have
been especially hit hard.
revenue has skyrocketed recently, but newspapers and online news sites haven’t
benefited that much. More than half of all digital ad revenue in 2018 went to
Facebook and Google.
Despite the decline
of newspapers and newsroom jobs, journalism advocates say the news media
industry will find a way to survive in the internet age. However, it’s hard to
say what that’ll look like in the future.
Americans say in surveys they prefer to get their news via social media
platforms like Facebook and Twitter.
Apparel and Textile Manufacturing
Back in 1950, an
estimated 2.5 million Americans were employed in the apparel and textile
manufacturing industry. Today those numbers are much smaller. By 2017, apparel
and textile manufacturing employed just 341,000 workers in the U.S.
The industry saw a
gigantic decline in the early 2000s. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)
reports the industry lost 85% of its jobs in the past 25 years, which is the
largest decrease among all manufacturing industries.
foreign outsourcing of jobs are the two primary reasons why you
rarely see apparel products with a “Made in the U.S.A.” tag nowadays.
New technology led
to machines replacing skilled workers in production jobs like knitting and
weaving. And then low production and labor costs and free trade agreements
enticed many American companies to relocate overseas.
say new demand for American-made products may lead to a resurgence in apparel
manufacturing. Politicians also frequently promise to return manufacturing jobs
to American soil.
But recent BLS
statistics show the industry continues to bleed jobs and any type of comeback
for U.S. apparel manufacturing may just be wishful thinking.
U.S. Postal Service
It’s hard to
imagine American society without the Post Office (a government agency). But
some experts predict the venerable institution is destined to fail.
The USPS has lost a
staggering $69 billion in net losses over the past decade, as total mail volume
has dropped 31% since 2007. The Postal Service was designed to be self-sufficient,
but massive overhead and personnel costs have made it nearly impossible to
remain financially solvent.
The USPS runs a
giant retail operation with 31,000 post offices nationwide and a fleet of
230,000 trucks and vehicles to deliver mail. The Postal Service has 300,000
fewer employees than it had a few decades ago, but the agency’s compensation
costs have still risen an estimated $2 billion since 2015.
The Post Office, of
course, is a government agency and not an industry unto itself. A total
financial collapse of the USPS then would perhaps lead to a massive bailout
from the federal government.
pundits have pushed for the USPS to be privatized for decades. The Postmaster
General also recently warned the agency could completely run out of money in
the next five years.
The USPS, the
newspaper publishing industry, and apparel manufacturing could suddenly turn
things around. Stranger things have happened.
But based on the
recent trends and financial figures, it appears more than likely these
industries and the Post Office are destined to fail.