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These 5 Middle Class Jobs Are on the Decline


The U.S. economy added over 2.1 million jobs in 2013, but many of those new jobs were in low-paying industries like administrative support and leisure and hospitality. With the growing gap between the richest and the poorest Americans, many fear that the middle class itself is dying out.


(Photo Credit: Sebastian Anthony/Flickr)

A recent Business Insider article examined some of these dying jobs. Using data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Alison Griswold found 15 jobs that require high school diplomas, but not advanced degrees, pay between $13.84 to $21.13 an hour — and are expected to decline at least 5 percent in the next decade.

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If you have one of these jobs in particular, it might be time to think about retraining:

1. Word processors and typists

Word processing and voice recognition programs have cut into this profession, which requires a knowledge of grammar and punctuation, but not necessarily a bachelor’s degree.

Median salary: $39,705

Projected 10-year decline: 25.1 percent

2. Data entry keyers

Data entry clerks must have knowledge of the software programs they use to input information, but no particular degree or certificate.

Median salary: $25,073

Projected 10-year decline: 24.6 percent

3. Postmasters and mail superintendents

Blame the internet for allowing us to do everything from pay bills to buy stamps online, but the post office is a pretty empty place these days. While it’s hard to imagine a future without the need for any postal workers, it’s not a growth industry.

Median salary: $65,021

Projected 10-year decline: 24.2 percent

4. Computer operators

Computer operators must have experience in the mainframe/mini-computer environment in which they work, but they don’t need degrees beyond a high school diploma. The decline of mainframe computing is partly to blame for the decline in this occupation.

Median salary: $40,305

Projected 10-year decline: 17.0 percent

5. Embalmer

Embalmers need post-secondary certificates to work in their chosen field, but not a four-year degree. Fewer embalmers are expected to be needed in the future, as green burials and cremation gain in popularity.

Median salary: $39,815

Projected 10-year decline: 15 percent

Of course, the decline of these specific job titles has implications beyond just the careers of folks who work in those occupations. Unless new middle-class jobs appear to take their place, the economy as a whole could suffer.

Tell Us What You Think

Which jobs would you add to this lists? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.

Jen Hubley Luckwaldt
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