Jobs That Died in 2011

By Jen Hubley Luckwaldt,

The tech-savvy, newest generation of workers grew up hearing that the jobs they would hold as adults hadn't even been invented yet. No one mentioned that the jobs they had come to think of as permanent might become a thing of the past.   

This year has been a rough one for many industries. In fact, many fields were plagued with layoffs and budget cuts severe enough to threaten the continued existence of specific jobs within them. In time, we may look back and say that 2011 was the year that the following jobs began to die.

1. US Postal Service Carrier
"Get a government job," your parents told you. "Government jobs are secure. You'll get a pension, and they can never, ever fire you." This belief might no longer be true. The US Postal Service has had a famously bad year.

According to stories in Money and The Washington Post, in order to make a $5.5 billion annual payment to its retiree healthcare fund, the Postal Service has considered canceling Saturday delivery, closing post offices and laying off some of its 280,000 workers.

Median Annual Pay for a Mail Carrier: $48,300
Median Hourly Pay: $23.20
Education: High school diploma

2. Real Estate Agents
Real estate, formerly the favorite second job of actors and parents returning to work, is no longer such a sure thing.

Al Halverson of Burien, Washington, a 30-year real estate industry veteran, says the money just isn’t what it used to be. “The buyers are coming out to buy at much lower prices,” he says. “That means Realtors are working more and making less. The million-dollar houses are now $450,000 or $500,000.” Homes selling for half the price means a big pay cut for commission-based agents’ earnings.

Median Annual Pay for a Real Estate Agent: $75,500
Median Hourly Pay: $36.30
Education: Bachelor's degree plus real estate license

3. Video Store Clerk

Your college job may soon look as dated as that tape deck in your car. Blockbuster closed more than 200 stores in 2011, while Netflix blundered into a PR nightmare that made us long for the days of 50-cent rewind fees.

Median Hourly Pay for a Video Store Clerk: $9
Education: High school

4. Toll Collectors/Operators

Technology is a double-edged sword for some workers. On the one hand, computers, handhelds and all the assorted gadgets of the 21st century make jobs easier. On the other hand, ask any toll collector how he feels about E-ZPass.

Median Annual Pay for a Toll Collector: $36,800
Median Hourly Pay: $17.70
Education: High school

5. Stock Brokers

The good news is that many of the large financial services firms (such as Morgan Stanley) seem to have gotten back on their feet. The bad news is that many of them are doing it, in part, by laying off employees.

Still, don't cry too much for beleaguered stock brokers: Their salaries were slightly up in the third quarter of 2011, compared to last year, according to data.

Median Annual Pay for a Stock Broker: $58,400
Median Hourly Pay: $28.10
Education: Bachelor's degree

6. Newspaper Reporters

It took 15 years, but the Internet might finally be crushing the newspaper industry. Papers all over the country reported declining ad revenue and responded by laying off staff -- including folks in the newsroom.

Median Annual Pay for a Newspaper Reporter: $34,700
Median Hourly Pay: $16.70
Education: Bachelor's degree

Source: All salary data provided by Annual salaries are for full-time workers with five to eight years of experience and include any bonuses, commissions or profit sharing. Education is the most typical education level respondents with that job title list in the PayScale survey.

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