What the Top 10 Dying U.S. Industries Say About the Economy

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What do newspapers publishers, sock makers, video store owners, and costume renters have in common? They're all in the wrong industry.

Here are the 10 sectors facing the steepest projected decline in the next few years, according to IBISWorld, a research firm (via WSJ):
10 dying industries.pngThe twin modern forces of technology and off-shoring are conspiring to make life easier for most Americans ... and much, much more difficult for folks who work in these industries. Wireless phones are taking down wired telecom. Cheap overseas labor is killing apparel manufacturing and mills. Large and scaled Internet shops are hurting smaller brick-and-mortar stores that sell anything from DVDs to formal wear. And digital news and websites are replacing the demand for broadsheets and professional photofinishers.

Together, these 10 sectors represent $280 billion in revenue, which is about 2% of the economy, or the size of Maryland or Indiana's GDP. But the forces weighing on them weigh on the entire economy. As automated technology replaces more white-collar workers, as low-wage countries attract more off-shored labor, as new Web ventures continue to make our lives better while they wreak havoc on the entertainment industry, jobs in these blighted sectors will disappear. The 30-year siege on middle class jobs from technology and globalization will continue unabated, and the federal government will feel increased pressure to do something about the hollowing out of the middle class.



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Derek Thompson is a senior editor at The Atlantic, where he writes about economics, labor markets, and the entertainment business.

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