20 Worst Jobs for the Future

We identified 20 dying professions job seekers should avoid in the future, based on career prospects and pay. See the list of worst jobs.

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With the U.S. unemployment rate near a 50-year low, it’s a great time to be looking for a new job. Employers have plenty of openings to fill, and wages are even starting to rise after remaining stubbornly stagnant for years. But exercise caution before blindly switching careers. Even as the economy prospers, some occupations continue to fade as the evolving employment landscape leaves them behind.

To help today’s job seekers better grasp the realities of the labor market and avoid dying professions, we analyzed 773 occupations, considering their pay rates, growth potential over the next decade and educational requirements. The bottom of our rankings are littered with jobs that pay little at present and are expected to shed positions in the future. Take a look at 20 of the worst jobs for the future, along with our suggestions for alternate career paths that utilize comparable skills or satisfy similar interests while offering better growth and pay prospects.


Unless otherwise noted, all employment data was provided by Emsi, a labor-market research firm owned by Strada Education. Emsi collects data from dozens of federal, state and private sources, including reports from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and surveys from the U.S. Census Bureau. The total number of jobs listed for each occupation is for 2017. Projected 10-year job growth figures represent the percentage change in the total number of jobs in an occupation between 2017 and 2027. Annual earnings were calculated by multiplying median hourly earnings by 2,080, the standard number of hours worked in a year by a full-time employee. Jobs are listed in reverse order by ranking, from 20 to 1.

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Stacy Rapacon
Online Editor, Kiplinger.com

Rapacon joined Kiplinger in October 2007 as a reporter with Kiplinger's Personal Finance magazine and became an online editor for Kiplinger.com in June 2010. She previously served as editor of the "Starting Out" column, focusing on personal finance advice for people in their twenties and thirties.

Before joining Kiplinger, Rapacon worked as a senior research associate at b2b publishing house Judy Diamond Associates. She holds a B.A. degree in English from the George Washington University.