37 US jobs that are disappearing at an alarming rate

By 2026, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 19.3% decline in milling and planing machine operators. 

Other industries in the US, like coal and steel, are victims of globalization and evolving industries. But other careers, such as typists, computer operators, and legal secretaries, are disappearing as well.

In 10 years' time, these careers could be a thing of the past.

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Jobs in the U.S. that are disappearing
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Jobs in the U.S. that are disappearing

Structural metal fabricators and fitters are projected to decline by 15.3%

What they do, according to O*NET: They fabricate, position, align, and weld parts of structural metal together.

Median annual pay in 2018: $39,290

Number of people who held this job in the US in 2016:77,000

Predicted number of people who will hold this job in 2026: 65,200

Metal and plastic pattern-makers are projected to decline by 15.5%

What they do, according to O*NET: They lay out, machine, fit, and assemble castings and parts to metal or plastic foundry patterns, core boxes, or match plates.

Median annual pay in 2018: $45,840

Number of people who held this job in the US in 2016:3,400

Predicted number of people who will hold this job in 2026: 2,900

Office machine operators are projected to decline by 15.6%

What they do, according to O*NET: They operate a variety of office machines, such as photocopiers and photographic and duplicating machines, but not computers.

Median annual pay in 2018: $32,790

Number of people who held this job in the US in 2016:59,900

Predicted number of people who will hold this job in 2026: 50,500

Textile cutting-machine setters, operators, and tenders are projected to decline by 15.8%

What they do, according to O*NET: They operate machines that cut textiles.

Median annual pay in 2018: $28,220

Number of people who held this job in the US in 2016:15,000

Predicted number of people who will hold this job in 2026: 12,600

Fabric and apparel pattern-makers are projected to decline by 16.1%

What they do, according to O*NET: They draw and construct sets of precision master-fabric patterns or layouts, and may also mark and cut fabrics and apparel.

Median annual pay in 2018: $40,560

Number of people who held this job in the US in 2016:5,500

Predicted number of people who will hold this job in 2026: 4,600

Fallers are projected to decline by 16.2%

What they do, according to O*NET: They use axes or chainsaws to fell trees. They control the direction of a tree's fall and minimize tree damage using their knowledge of tree characteristics and cutting techniques.

Median annual pay in 2018: $44,080

Number of people who held this job in the US in 2016:7,500

Predicted number of people who will hold this job in 2026: 6,300

Postal-service mail sorters, processors, and processing-machine operators are projected to decline by 16.5%

What they do, according to O*NET: They prepare incoming and outgoing mail for distribution. They also examine, sort, and route mail; load, operate, and occasionally adjust and repair mail processing, sorting, and canceling machinery; keep records of shipments, pouches, and sacks; and perform other duties related to mail handling within the postal service.

Median annual pay in 2018: $58,770

Number of people who held this job in the US in 2016:106,700

Predicted number of people who will hold this job in 2026: 89,100

Sewing-machine operators are projected to decline by 16.7%

What they do, according to O*NET: They operate sewing machines to join, reinforce, decorate, or perform related sewing operations in the manufacture of garment or nongarment products.

Median annual pay in 2018: $25,030

Number of people who held this job in the US in 2016:153,900

Predicted number of people who will hold this job in 2026: 128,200

Textile-winding, -twisting, and drawing-out machine setters, operators, and tenders are projected to decline by 16.8%

What they do, according to O*NET: They operate machines that wind or twist textiles, or draw out and combine sliver, such as wool, hemp, or synthetic fibers.

Median annual pay in 2018: $28,920

Number of people who held this job in the US in 2016:30,800

Predicted number of people who will hold this job in 2026: 25,600

Engine and other machine assemblers are projected to decline by 17.2%

What they do, according to O*NET: They also operate machines that wind or twist textiles. This job category includes slub ber machine and drawing frame operators.

Median annual pay in 2018: $44,380

Number of people who held this job in the US in 2016:38,000

Predicted number of people who will hold this job in 2026: 31,500

Executive secretaries and executive administrative assistants are projected to decline by 17.4%

What they do, according to O*NET: They provide high-level administrative support to executives by conducting research, preparing statistical reports, handling information requests, preparing correspondence, receiving visitors, arranging conference calls, and scheduling meetings.

Median annual pay in 2018: $59,340

Number of people who held this job in the US in 2016:685,300

Predicted number of people who will hold this job in 2026: 566,200

Aircraft structure, surfaces, rigging, and systems assemblers are projected to decline by 17.4%

What they do, according to O*NET: They install airplane parts, including space vehicles or missiles, such as tails, wings, fuselage, bulkheads, stabilizers, landing gear, rigging and control equipment.

Median annual pay in 2018: $53,340

Number of people who held this job in the US in 2016:41,800

Predicted number of people who will hold this job in 2026: 34,500

Textile bleaching and dyeing machine operators and tenders are projected to decline by 18.1%

What they do, according to O*NET: They operate machines to bleach, shrink, wash, dye, or finish textiles or synthetic or glass fibers.

Median annual pay in 2018: $28,780

Number of people who held this job in the US in 2016:11,300

Predicted number of people who will hold this job in 2026: 9,200

Photographic-process workers and processing-machine operators are projected to decline by 18.1%

What they do, according to O*NET: They perform work involved in developing and processing photographic images from film or digital media. They may also perform precision tasks such as editing photographic negatives and prints.

Median annual pay in 2018: $29,180

Number of people who held this job in the US in 2016:26,900

Predicted number of people who will hold this job in 2026: 22,000

Legal secretaries are projected to decline by 19.1%

What they do, according to O*NET: They perform secretarial duties using legal terminology, procedures, and documents. Prepare legal papers and correspondence, such as summonses, complaints, motions, and subpoenas. They may also assist with legal research.

Median annual pay in 2018: $46,360

Number of people who held this job in the US in 2016:194,700

Predicted number of people who will hold this job in 2026: 157,500

Metal and plastic forging machine setters, operators, and tenders are projected to decline by 19.2%

What they do, according to O*NET: They operate forging machines to taper, shape, or form metal or plastic parts.

Median annual pay in 2018: $38,900

Number of people who held this job in the US in 2016:19,200

Predicted number of people who will hold this job in 2026: 15,500

Metal and plastic milling and planing machine setters, operators, and tenders are projected to decline by 19.3%

What they do, according to O*NET: They operate milling or planing machines to mill, plane, shape, groove, or profile metal or plastic workpieces.

Median annual pay in 2018: $43,590

Number of people who held this job in the US in 2016:17,600

Predicted number of people who will hold this job in 2026: 14,200

Textile knitting-and-weaving-machine setters, operators, and tenders are projected to decline by 19.3%

What they do, according to O*NET: They set up and operate machines that knit, loop, weave, or draw in textiles.

Median annual pay in 2018: $29,160

Number of people who held this job in the US in 2016:22,200

Predicted number of people who will hold this job in 2026: 17,900

Metal- and plastic-drilling and boring machine-tool setters, operators, and tenders are projected to decline by 19.5%

What they do, according to O*NET: They operate drilling machines to drill, bore, ream, mill, or countersink metal or plastic workpieces.

Median annual pay in 2018: $38,020

Number of people who held this job in the US in 2016:12,300

Predicted number of people who will hold this job in 2026: 9,900

Switchboard operators (including answering services) are projected to decline by 19.9%

What they do, according to O*NET: They operate telephone business-systems equipment or switchboards to relay incoming, outgoing, and interoffice calls. May supply information to callers and record messages.

Median annual pay in 2018: $29,420

Number of people who held this job in the US in 2016:93,200

Predicted number of people who will hold this job in 2026: 74,700

Prepress technicians and workers are projected to decline by 19.9%

What they do, according to O*NET: They format and proof text and images submitted by designers and clients into finished pages that can be printed.

Median annual pay in 2018: $40,410

Number of people who held this job in the US in 2016:34,600

Predicted number of people who will hold this job in 2026: 27,700

Timing device assemblers and adjusters are projected to decline by 20.1%

What they do, according to O*NET: Perform precision assembling within narrow tolerances of timing devices such as digital clocks or timing devices with electronic components.

Median annual pay in 2018: $34,650

Number of people who held this job in the US in 2016:800

Predicted number of people who will hold this job in 2026: 600

Hand-grinding and polishing workers are projected to decline by 20.5%

What they do, according to O*NET: They grind, sand, or polish, using hand tools or hand-held power tools, a variety of metal, wood, stone, clay, plastic, or glass objects. This job category includes chippers, buffers, and finishers.

Median annual pay in 2018: $29,550

Number of people who held this job in the US in 2016:26,600

Predicted number of people who will hold this job in 2026: 21,100

Coil winders, tapers, and finishers are projected to decline by 20.7%

What they do, according to O*NET: Wind wire coils used in electrical components, such as resistors and transformers, and in electrical equipment, such as field cores, bobbins, armature cores, electrical motors, generators, and control equipment.

Median annual pay in 2018: $34,400

Number of people who held this job in the US in 2016:14,100

Predicted number of people who will hold this job in 2026: 11,200

Postmasters and mail superintendents are projected to decline by 20.9%

What they do, according to O*NET: They direct operational, administrative, management, and supportive services of a US post office, or coordinate activities of workers engaged in postal work in a post office.

Median annual pay in 2018: $75,970

Number of people who held this job in the US in 2016:14,200

Predicted number of people who will hold this job in 2026: 11,200

Data-entry keyers are projected to decline by 21.2%

What they do, according to O*NET: They operate a data-entry device, such as a keyboard or photo-composing perforate. Their duties may include verifying data and preparing materials for printing.

Median annual pay in 2018: $32,170

Number of people who held this job in the US in 2016:203,800

Predicted number of people who will hold this job in 2026: 160,600

Mine shuttle-car operators are projected to decline by 21.9%

What they do, according to O*NET: They operate diesel or electric-powered shuttle cars in underground mines to transport materials from mine cars to conveyors.

Median annual pay in 2018: $56,340

Number of people who held this job in the US in 2016:1,500

Predicted number of people who will hold this job in 2026: 1,200

Telephone operators are projected to decline by 22.6%

What they do, according to O*NET: They provide information by accessing alphabetical, geographical, or other directories. They assist customers with special billing requests, such as charges to a third party and credits or refunds for incorrectly dialed numbers or bad connections. They may handle emergency calls and assist children or people with physical disabilities to make telephone calls.

Median annual pay in 2018: $37,240

Number of people who held this job in the US in 2016:9,100

Predicted number of people who will hold this job in 2026: 7,000

Computer operators are projected to decline by 22.8%

What they do, according to O*NET: They monitor and control electronic computer and peripheral electronic data-processing equipment to process business, scientific, engineering, and other data according to operating instructions.

Median annual pay in 2018: $45,840

Number of people who held this job in the US in 2016:51,500

Predicted number of people who will hold this job in 2026: 39,700

Metal pourers and casters are projected to decline by 23.4%

What they do, according to O*NET: They operate hand-controlled mechanisms to pour and regulate the flow of molten metal into molds to produce castings or ingots.

Median annual pay in 2018: $37,730

Number of people who held this job in the US in 2016:8,400

Predicted number of people who will hold this job in 2026: 6,500

Foundry mold and core makers are projected to decline by 24.0%

What they do, according to O*NET: They make or form wax or sand cores or molds used in the production of metal castings in foundries.

Median annual pay in 2018: $35,430

Number of people who held this job in the US in 2016:12,500

Predicted number of people who will hold this job in 2026: 9,500

Motor vehicle electronic-equipment installers and repairers are projected to decline by 25.6%

What they do, according to O*NET: They install, diagnose, or repair communications, sound, security, or navigation equipment in motor vehicles.

Median annual pay in 2018: $35,590

Number of people who held this job in the US in 2016:12,100

Predicted number of people who will hold this job in 2026: 9,000

Watch repairers are projected to decline by 29.7%

What they do, according to O*NET: They repair mechanisms of timing instruments, such as watches and clocks.

Median annual pay in 2018: $39,910

Number of people who held this job in the US in 2016:1,800

Predicted number of people who will hold this job in 2026: 1,200

Word processors and typists are projected to decline by 33.1%

What they do, according to O*NET: They use word processors or computers to type letters, reports, forms, or other material from rough draft, corrected copy, or voice recording. They may perform other clerical duties.

Median annual pay in 2018: $39,750

Number of people who held this job in the US in 2016:74,900

Predicted number of people who will hold this job in 2026: 50,100

Parking-enforcement workers are projected to decline by 35.3%

What they do, according to O*NET: They patrol assigned areas, such as public parking lots or city streets, to issue tickets to overtime parking violators and illegally parked vehicles.

Median annual pay in 2018: $39,840

Number of people who held this job in the US in 2016:9,400

Predicted number of people who will hold this job in 2026: 6,100

Respiratory therapy technicians are projected to decline by 56.3%

What they do, according to O*NET: They provide respiratory care under the direction of respiratory therapists and physicians.

Median annual pay in 2018: $51,210

Number of people who held this job in the US in 2016:10,800

Predicted number of people who will hold this job in 2026: 4,700

Locomotive firers are projected to decline by 78.6%

What they do, according to O*NET: They monitor locomotive instruments and watch for dragging equipment, obstacles on rights-of-way, and train signals during runs. They also relay traffic signals from yard workers to yard engineers in railroad yards.

Median annual pay in 2018: $63,820

Number of people who held this job in the US in 2016:1,200

Predicted number of people who will hold this job in 2026: 300

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