2021 is poised to be the year of innovation and automation. Most financial analysts are predicting a recession in the coming year, adding to the stresses several industries are already feeling.
Certain industries or companies in certain sectors have already begun their downward spiral and it is just a matter of time before their doors close permanently.
Most events happening in the economic sector have a ripple effect, no matter where you live or what you do for a living. Employees from these dissolving companies and industries are directly impacted by these changes. Job losses also have a significant impact on the economy, the availability of jobs and the direction in which education moves. When it comes to the job sector, the best solution is a good offense. Being aware of the trends ahead of their occurrence allows you to make adjustments so you can better weather a potential downturn.
Retail Positions at Department Stores
The retail industry will see Sears take its final curtain call this year. Over the last few years, its acquisition of KMART could not forestall its downward plunge. Massive store closings will continue this year and core brands are going to be sold to other retail outlets. Already, Sears’ Craftsman brand has been sold to Black & Decker, but even that cash infusion has not been enough to make a dent in its $4.2 billion debt.
Positions at the United States Postal Service (USPS)
If you currently work for the USPS as a mail carrier, sorter or clerk, it may be time to start exploring different job opportunities. With the direct mail impact of Amazon’s empire, combined with UPS, FED EX and DHL, the USPS has struggled for many years to keep up. Because it is so heavily tied to government regulations, more so than other delivery services, the ability to innovate and expand has been hampered. Couple this with updated technology that can sort mail faster and offer all of the information and services of a clerk, and you can see the impending automation of the USPS.
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Analysts predict that the old-fashioned mailman is going to fade into the past as electronic mail replaces hard copy mail entirely. Will this all take place in 2021? No, but many post offices around the country have already closed their doors. Look for a larger number of them to follow suit in 2021 with job cuts and an increase in automated technology.
Already, first-class mail volume is down by 30 percent since 2007, and it is projected to drop an additional 40 percent in just seven years. Its current deficits are nearing $20 billion and the cost -saving measures may not be enough.
Line Workers in the Textile Industry
The Bureau of Labor Statistics shows there are less than 150,000 workers in this field with employment projections in decline at 1.5 percent growth or less. Automation and artificial intelligence are streamlining operations on most fronts in this industry, which reduces the need for a human labor force. Most impacted will be line workers who operate and manager larger presses and rollers, dyes and other textile processes. Additionally, sewing machine operators should also seek alternative work opportunities.
Farmers and Laborers in the Agricultural Industry
The agricultural industry is also moving toward automation and innovation on a grander scale this year. This will lead to fewer jobs for regular laborers, farm foremen and traditional ranchers/farmers. However, those who can adapt to the future, despite potential impacts from imposed tariffs, can find higher-paying roles. While this shift will significantly impact production methods, other aspects of the agriculture industry will be quite viable. To succeed in this industry, those in traditional roles will need to adapt quickly or look for more stable roles.
Data Entry, File Clerks and Typists
Voice-activated technology and innovations in artificial intelligence (AI) are revolutionizing data entry. Software is responsible for most data entry as of 2021, eliminating most traditional data entry jobs. Voice-activated technology is making typist roles all but disappear this year. In the past, employers hired typists to produce documents for clients or employers whose typing skills were not up to par. However, everyone comes into the job market with rudimentary typing skills in this current job market, making this occupation obsolete.
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File clerks have already become absorbed into other occupations, such as a secretarial and administrative roles. This is because most files are now digital, which does not require their manual placement into file cabinets.
While large floral companies continue to flourish, say goodbye to the independent florist. Projections by the BLS predict a six percent decline in an already struggling industry. Most predict the floral industry will have to innovate and change the way it does business, perhaps going to an augmented reality online platform, shipping flowers to customers, or partnering with giants such as Florists’ Transworld Delivery (FTD) or Amazon.
Loan Officers in the Banking Industry
This is another industry feeling the impact of automation and technology. Consumers can now access the services that were once relegated to the bank teller. The BLS projects a decline of eight percent in this industry, and already, most banks have streamlined their companies. Loan officers will see a decrease in employment opportunities as consumers are able to apply for loans online and receive instant approval without coming into a physical branch.
Some analysts suggest that those who make their living preparing simple tax returns, even seasonally, are going to see this job all but disappear in the next year or so. However, if the tax preparer is also an accountant or certified public accountant (CPA), then the job market is still quite strong and will grow. The prevalence of tax return software has made seasonal tax preparers obsolete.
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