The American economy is constantly changing, with certain industries fading into obscurity as new occupations rise to replace them. If you’re a technician who works on newspaper printing presses, odds are pretty good that work in your field is harder to find today than ever before. Meanwhile, being a social media strategist is a career that didn’t even exist 30 years ago but currently employs a number of lucky millennials.
So, which professions are becoming obsolete in the face of merciless economic trends, and which ones are on the verge of expanding rapidly? That assessment is at the core of a new GOBankingRates study that used the latest data on projected job growth — or lack thereof — by profession from 2016 to 2026. The results should provide some insight into which careers appear to be in jeopardy and which jobs will still exist in 10 years.
Jobs With the Least Security
Just like the eight-tracks and cassette tapes, some jobs fade out over time — such as working at a factory that makes eight tracks and cassette tapes.
Here’s a list of the 10 careers most lacking in job security.
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10. Telephone Operators
- Median Salary: $36,320
There should be about 2,000 fewer telephone operators in 2026 compared to 2016, which is a loss of more than one in five total jobs in the profession as younger generations increasingly rely on messaging and social media to communicate.
9. Computer Operators
- Median Salary: $44,270
The information era might be making life in the digital sphere all the more important, but the need for specialists to “monitor and control computer and peripheral electronic data processing equipment” is on the decline to the tune of nearly 12,000 jobs by 2026 — that’s 22.8 percent of the 50,000-plus people currently in this line of work.
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8. Pourers and Casters, Metal
- Median Salary: $38,210
Pourers and casters for metalworking operate hand-controlled mechanisms to pour molten metal into molds for casting and/or ingots. The work is disappearing, though, as the profession is expected to shed 23.4 percent of its 8,400 jobs by 2026.
7. Foundry Mold and Coremakers
- Median Salary: $35,140
It’s not a great time to be working in the metal casting industry. Foundry mold and coremakers create the wax or sand cores or molds used to make the metal castings that pourers and casters fill, and these workers are estimated to lose 24 percent of their profession in the next decade or so, which totals approximately 3,000 jobs.
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6. Electrical and Electronic Equipment Assemblers
- Median Salary: $34,530
Electrical equipment assemblers put together things like computers or electric motors, but the need for humans to do this work is expected to be in steep decline over the ensuing decade. Over one in four of these jobs is expected to be gone by 2026 — which is 3,100 of the 12,100 positions that existed in 2016.
5. Watch Repairers
- Median Salary: $35,770
When most people carry around a tiny computer that can beam information from satellites right into their pockets and also incidentally tells time, it can put a real damper on how many people opt to wear a watch. As such, it might not be too surprising that the Bureau of Labor Statistics anticipates there being 500 fewer watch repairers by 2026 — a decline of nearly 30 percent.
4. Word Processors and Typists
- Median Salary: $39,740
The words “talk to text” should no doubt strike fear into the hearts of typists, who type letters, reports, forms and other material from voice recordings or rough drafts. The profession is expected to lose a third of its total jobs, going from nearly 75,000 in 2016 to just over 50,000 by 2026.
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3. Parking Enforcement Workers
- Median Salary: $39,030
One group that might have some trouble drumming up sympathy for their lack of job security is the people handing out parking tickets. Still, over 35 percent of the jobs in that profession are expected to vanish by 2026, a decrease of 3,300 positions.
2. Respiratory Therapy Technicians
- Median Salary: $50,350
Respiratory therapy technicians — who provide respiratory care under the direction of therapists and physicians — are a profession in steep decline, with less than half the workers in 2016 expected to still be employed in 2026. The projected decline of 56.3 percent translates to the loss of some 6,100 jobs.
1. Locomotive Firers
- Median Salary: $37,690
You might be surprised to hear that there are still many locomotive firers on the job, but some 1,200 people are making a living at it. However, if you think you’ve found your calling, just know that number is expected to decline to 300 — a drop of almost 80 percent — by 2026.
Jobs With the Most Security
Even the best jobs can be marred by the constant worry that you might be downsized, but feeling confident that your job is safe — or that you could probably find new work when it’s not — can help reduce stress and improve your quality of life.
So, here are 10 jobs with the most job security, according to the BLS.
- Median Salary: $103,010
As the trend toward “big data” continues, the need for more people who can crunch numbers only looks to keep growing. The BLS projects that there will be 900 new professional mathematicians by 2026, an increase of almost 30 percent.
9. Software Developers, Applications
- Median Salary: $101,790
The rise of the digital era has resulted in more and more business being done online and through apps, meaning that software and app developers should see more people joining their ranks. The 830,000-plus people currently employed in these roles is anticipated to grow by 255,400 workers by 2026 — an increase of 30.7 percent.
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8. Physical Therapist Assistants
- Median Salary: $57,430
Assisting therapists in providing physical therapy is a growing industry at the moment. There are already almost 90,000 people working in these positions now, but that’s expected to increase by 31 percent to 115,800 jobs by 2026.
- Median Salary: $84,060
Another career that’s reaping the benefits of an increased emphasis on collecting data, professional statisticians are one group that’s expanding rapidly. Their ranks are expected to grow by over a third, going from 37,200 jobs in 2016 to just under 50,000 by 2026.
6. Nurse Practitioners
- Median Salary: $103,880
One sector that appears to be expanding the fastest is healthcare — which offers plenty of high-paying positions — with a range of medical careers landing on this list of jobs with the best job security. There are a little more than 155,000 people employed as nurse practitioners now, but that number should be about 211,600 by 2026, according to BLS projections.
5. Physician Assistants
- Median Salary: $104,860
With the highest median salary of any job in this study, physician assistants pair solid wages with strong job security. Their ranks are expected to grow by 37.3 percent by 2026, adding some 39,600 jobs in that time.
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4. Personal Care Aides
- Median Salary: $23,100
Personal care aides is the largest professional group included here, with over 2 million people working in that capacity as of 2016. However, demand for these workers is expected to keep increasing to the tune of almost 40 percent with an expected 2.8 million personal care aides by 2026.
3. Home Health Aides
- Median Salary: $23,210
Home health aides is another large professional group that’s getting bigger, with the 911,500 jobs in this group expected to grow to over 1.3 million by 2026 despite a median salary under $25,000 a year.
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2. Wind Turbine Service Technician
- Median Salary: $53,880
The rapid expansion of wind energy in the U.S. would appear to be causing a rapid expansion of the jobs needed to service them. The number of turbine technicians is expected to almost double from 5,800 to 11,300 by 2026.
1. Solar Photovoltaic Installers
- Median Salary: $39,490
One profession that’s expected to more than double its positions by 2026 is the group of people installing solar panels, indicating that the only area of the economy with more growth than healthcare is green energy, based on BLS data. There are 11,300 people working in this capacity now, but it’s expected to hit 23,100 by 2026.
Click through to find jobs that you’ll love — even if the pay isn’t great.
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Methodology: Data originates from the Occupational Employment Statistics program and was sourced from the Employment Projections program via the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. GOBankingRates determined the 10 jobs that are projected to add the most new jobs by 2026 as a percentage of their 2016 levels and the 10 jobs that are projected to lose the most positions as a percentage of 2016 levels.