Skip to main content

Jobs That Died in 2012

Jobs That Died in 2012

Jobs That Died in 2012

By Alida Moore,

As we approach the end of one year and the start of another, you might hear a lot of talk about jobs that grew in 2012. But there’s always a flip side, and in this case, it’s the jobs that didn’t grow, and in fact, are becoming obsolete.

Why are these jobs endangered? “These jobs utilize antiquated technology or are primarily in hurting industries, and thus their job prospects are low,” says Katie Bardaro, lead analyst at online salary database “For example, desktop publishers work in the publishing/printing industry, which has been hurt with the advent of online media consumption.”

To identify jobs that are dying, we consulted Bureau of Labor Statistics data. Every job on the following list comes in well below the bureau’s projected national job growth rate of 14.3 percent. Read on to see which jobs are likely to fade as society moves forward.

Sewing Machine Operator
Projected Growth: -25.8 Percent
Median Annual Salary: $23,700

When you look at the label inside your shirt, do you see the words “Made in the USA”? Didn’t think so. Nowadays, most of our clothing is made in China, Thailand and other countries. This outsourcing of clothing manufacturing could mean that stateside sewing machine operators are part of an occupational club that grows smaller every day.

Telephone Operator
Projected Growth: -16.6 Percent
Median Annual Salary: $26,100

How often do you dial “0” for operator assistance? If you have a computer or smartphone, you don’t need to. With a few mouse clicks or the touch of a few buttons, you can look up information yourself that you used to need an operator for. It’s no wonder telephone operator jobs are dwindling.

Desktop Publisher
Projected Growth: -14.7 Percent
Median Annual Salary: $43,100

A desktop publisher creates magazines, brochures and other print material. In today’s digital world, though, the publishing industry is struggling to stay afloat as most print material moves online. While some desktop publishers might be able to transition to Web publishing or graphic design work, they can be sure that the heyday of print is over.

Correspondence Clerk
Projected Growth: -12.1 Percent
Median Annual Salary: $30,000

Most business correspondence comes in the form of email these days, and filters let us pick which messages to read now and which to file away for later. A correspondence clerk used to have the same job, sorting through letters and messages and prioritizing them by order of importance. Sometimes these clerks would also type the replies as dictated by the boss. Now, most executives answer their own correspondence, forcing these clerks to write something else -- like their own resumes and cover letters.

Word Processor/Typist
Projected Growth: -11.5 Percent
Median Annual Salary: $35,000

The days of secretaries taking dictation and then spending hours at a typewriter transcribing the words are long gone. Now, even children learn to type and use a computer at a very early age. That means typing is no longer a specialized skill, which explains the lack of job opportunities for word processors/typists.

Motion Picture Projectionist
Projected Growth: -11.1 Percent
Median Annual Salary: $19,700

If you remember seeing Star Wars at the movies, you might remember looking up into the booth and seeing a projectionist feed film into the projector. These days, you’re more likely to see a film projector in a museum than a movie theater. As with many things in our society, film has gone digital, eliminating the need for someone to operate the projector.

Source: All salary data provided by online salary database Salaries listed are median annual salaries for workers with five to 10 years of experience and include any bonuses, commissions or profit sharing. The projected growth rate is the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ forecast of the percentage job growth between 2010 and 2020.

Education programs to fit your profession