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TheStreet Open House

Get Out of These 10 Professions Now

BOSTON ( TheStreet) -- Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be postmen -- or garment-factory workers, either.

That's because a recent study by the U.S. Labor Department found that eight of the 10 professions expected to face the greatest job losses during the current decade involve apparel manufacturing or the U.S. Postal Service.

"Young people should probably look less at these positions and more at occupations where we project large job growth," says Teri Morisi of the Labor Department's Bureau of Labor Statistics, which compiled the report.

Morisi says postal jobs are becoming about as vital as the one-cent stamp because email, online bill paying and other modern technologies are drying up "snail mail" usage. She believes apparel-manufacturing jobs are in decline because of a combination of "offshoring" and increased automation.

"Machinery can replace workers, productivity can reduce the need for a certain number of employees and there can be outsourcing to offshore locations," she says.

Here's a look at the 10 professions the BLS predicts will face the biggest percentage declines in available jobs during the current decade. All median-pay figures are estimates of each profession's annual salary as of 2010, a year U.S. workers earned a median $33,840 overall.

Tenth-worst profession: Semiconductor processor
Median pay: $33,130

You'd think semiconductor processors -- people who make microchips -- would have lots of job opportunities these days, since their wares wind up in everything from cellphones to cars.

But increased automation at U.S. chip factories means the industry needs fewer and fewer workers, while lots of the jobs that remain are moving overseas, Morisi says.

All told, the BLS estimates U.S. firms will cut 17.9% of all semiconductor-processing jobs between 2010 and 2020. That'll take the industry down to 17,300 positions from 21,100 when the decade began.

Eighth- and ninth-worst professions: Textile-cutting- and knitting-machine operators
Median pay: $23,490 for cutting-machine operators, $25,870 for knitting-machine workers

These folks run the machines that cut, knot, loop or weave fabrics -- jobs that face steep declines because of a combination of offshoring and greater automation, according to Morisi.

Textile-knitting-machine operators can expect their profession to drop to 18,400 jobs in 2020 from 22,500 in 2010. That's an 18.2% pullback -- ninth-worst on the BLS list. Textile-cutting-machine operators will see even steeper job declines in percentage terms, with the BLS estimating an eighth-worst drop of 21.8% in all jobs during the current decade, dropping to 11,700 positions in 2020 from 14,900 as of 2010.

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