Much as it looks like the job market may be starting to turn around for some, certain careers look poised for long and difficult declines.
Sewing machine operators, fast food cooks and switchboard operators are among the occupations with the largest projected declines in employment, according to a new report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The occupation slated to lose the most jobs: Agricultural managers, ranchers and farmers -- a category projected to decline by 96,100 jobs by 2020.
The findings come a day before the Labor Department will release its monthly unemployment report. The U.S. economy added 200,000 jobs in December as the unemployment rate fell to 8.5 percent. Economists project that the jobless rate held steady in January, according to Bloomberg.
Many of the jobs slated to decline might never come back. In the case of agricultural workers, a boost in mechanized farming may mean a loss in farm-related jobs if historical patterns continue. During the early 20th century, agriculture employed nearly half of the U.S. workforce, according to the United States Department of Agriculture. By 2005, that number had dwindled to 5 million, thanks in part to increased reliance on mechanized automation.
In addition to agricultural workers, Postal Service employees are also expected to get hit hard over the decade. Three out of the ten occupations with the highest projected declines are some type of Postal Service worker, according to the report. The Postal Service is expected to close 3,700 local post offices in mid-May while losing a record $14.1 billion next year.
But some of the jobs on the most-decline list may defy easy explanation. The fast food cook occupation category is expected to lose 19.100 jobs, even as fast food chains are extending their late night hours to meet customer demand, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Here are the occupations slated to lose the most jobs by 2020, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics: