Ten career paths you may want to avoid

by Grace

A new study released Tuesday by job-search site CareerCast.com, lists the 10 top endangered jobs in the U.S. Using data on 200 jobs from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, CareerCast projected the least promising career paths in terms of future employment growth, income potential and existing unemployment in the job field.

  1. Mail carrier
  2. Farmer
  3. Meter reader
  4. Newspaper reporter
  5. Travel agent
  6. Lumberjack
  7. Flight Attendant
  8. Drill-Press Operator
  9. Printing Worker
  10. Tax Examiner and Collector

“The common theme in these jobs is paper,” says Tony Lee, publisher of CareerCast.

There is simply less demand for the type of work represented by these jobs, in most cases due to technological advances.

Since I have recently been spending many frustrating hours planning my summer vacation, I wish travel agents would make a comeback.  Apparently there is a trend toward a fee-for-service model among travel agents, particularly in the FIT (Flexible Independent Travel) market.  Maybe next time I’m planning a family vacation I’ll seek out a travel agent to make my life easier.

I’m particularly concerned to see that newspaper reporter jobs made this list since I have a son who is an aspiring journalist.  Perhaps the growing proliferation of online news sources will boost job growth in that area.  That may be optimistic thinking, but you can’t blame a mom for hoping.


Kathleen Madigan, The 10 Most Endangered Jobs (Or, Why You Are Reading This Online), Wall Street Journal, July 15, 2014.


4 Comments to “Ten career paths you may want to avoid”

  1. Job titles from the BLS are always a dicey thing, and can really skew the statistics. BLS makes total has of the various IT and CS occupations, for example. In the case above, what does “newspaper reporter” really mean? If it means “person who works as a writer for a newspaper’s paper edition”, then yes, this is a bad field. What job title do they use for “person who writes about the news for digital media”? I bet the statistics are better for that title.
    I also question “flight attendant”. While I do not think it is a growing occupation, I can’t imagine it will decline much more. People want to fly, and for safety reasons, flight attendants are needed.


  2. Yes, the BLS categories are not very precise sometimes. But I suspect their reporters category includes digital media. How could it not? But who knows, it’s a government agency after all.

    This is their brief explanation for flight attendant jobs:

    “Cutbacks on the number of flights and airline mergers threw the industry into steady flux in recent years, and the long-term hiring projections for flight attendants do not point to an uptick in the coming decade.”


  3. Digital media doesn’t generate the ad revenue that newspapers once did, so salaries for digital reporters are likely to be lower. Note that TV reporters outside major markets don’t make much either. There’s lots of competition for these jobs. Of course, everything’s changing so maybe there will be good media jobs in the future. Journalism certainly teaches valuable information-gathering, analysis and communications skills.


  4. Low salaries and high competition — that’s certainly the story in journalism these days.

    “Journalism certainly teaches valuable information-gathering, analysis and communications skills.”

    So does a rigorous liberal arts education, probably rare among many colleges these days. Actually, I question whether most journalism programs are doing a very good job of teaching those skills.

    “Of course, everything’s changing so maybe there will be good media jobs in the future. ”

    It remains to be seen how long my son can hold out. He has to earn a living, after all. 🙂


%d bloggers like this: