20 common jobs where the paycheck keeps getting smaller every year

Sergei Ilnitsky / APBakery workers had a 12% decline in income between 1990 and 2017.
  • The US economy is always changing as new businesses grow and others decline.
  • Using Census data, we found 20 industries where workers’ incomes have fallen dramatically in the last few decades.
  • Chiropractors used to be very well paid back in the day. Not so much now.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

The US economy is always changing as new businesses grow and others decline.

We found 20 industries where workers’ incomes have fallen dramatically in the last few decades.

Using data from the 1990 Census and the 2017 American Community Survey assembled by the Minnesota Population Centre’s Integrated Public Use Microdata Series project, we looked at what industries had the biggest per cent drops in average self-reported income among workers in those industries between then and now. Average incomes in 1990 were adjusted for inflation into 2017 dollars.

While most of the industries tracked by the Census Bureau saw average wages go up over that period, several had steep declines. Here are the 20 industry groups with the biggest per cent drop in average incomes between 1990 and 2017:


20. Scrap and waste materials wholesale trade: In 1990, workers earned an inflation-adjusted average of $US48,912, which fell to $US45,527 in 2017, a 7% decline.

Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

What the industry does: Buy and sell scrap material and waste for disposal or reuse.


19. Blast furnaces, steelworks, rolling, and finishing mills: In 1990, workers earned an inflation-adjusted average of $US64,081, which fell to $US59,569 in 2017, a 7% decline.

Getty/Sean-Gallup

What the industry does: Manufactures steel and other iron products.


18. Ordnance manufacturing: In 1990, workers earned an inflation-adjusted average of $US59,729, which fell to $US55,729 in 2017, an 8% decline.

US Marine Corps/Cpl. Alexander Sturdivant

What the industry does: Manufactures weapons and ammunition.


17. Motor vehicle and motor vehicle equipment manufacturing: In 1990, workers earned an inflation-adjusted average of $US64,178, which fell to $US59,074 in 2017, an 8% decline.

Reuters/Aaron Josefczyk

What the industry does: Builds motor vehicles and motor vehicle parts.


16. Miscellaneous wholesale trade: In 1990, workers earned an inflation-adjusted average of $US64,658, which fell to $US59,398 in 2017, an 8% decline.

Shannon Stapleton/Reuters

What the industry does: This is a catchall category for businesses in wholesale trade of goods or services not included in another industry grouping.


15. Tire and inner tube manufacturing: In 1990, workers earned an inflation-adjusted average of $US65,528, which fell to $US59,911 in 2017, a 9% decline.

Shutterstock

What the industry does: Builds tires and similar goods.


14. Museums, art galleries, and zoos: In 1990, workers earned an inflation-adjusted average of $US41,882, which fell to $US38,159 in 2017, a 9% decline.

Associated Press

What the industry does: Provides educational and recreational services to patrons.


13. Funeral services and crematories: In 1990, workers earned an inflation-adjusted average of $US56,002, which fell to $US50,302 in 2017, a 10% decline.

Reuters

What the industry does: Facilitate funeral and cremation services.


12. Retail bakeries: In 1990, workers earned an inflation-adjusted average of $US30,154, which fell to $US27,072 in 2017, a 10% decline.

Caroline Cakebread/Business Insider

What the industry does: Makes and sells baked goods to customers.


11. US Postal Service: In 1990, workers earned an inflation-adjusted average of $US59,215, which fell to $US53,070 in 2017, a 10% decline.

AP Photo/Ben Margot

What the industry does: Transport and deliver letters, packages, and mail across the US.


10. Bakers: In 1990, workers earned an inflation-adjusted average of $US45,899, which fell to $US40,348 in 2017, a 12% decline.

What the industry does: Manufactures bread and other baked goods to be sold in stores.


9. Plastics, synthetics, and resins manufacturing: In 1990, workers earned an inflation-adjusted average of $US59,558, which fell to $US51,881 in 2017, a 13% decline.

Reuters/Nicky Loh

What the industry does: Manufactures plastics and other goods.


8. Miscellaneous general merchandise stores: In 1990, workers earned an inflation-adjusted average of $US31,312, which fell to $US27,273 in 2017, a 13% decline.

Shoshy Ciment/Business Insider

What the industry does: Catchall category for retail stores not included in some other industry grouping.


7. Warehousing and storage: In 1990, workers earned an inflation-adjusted average of $US40,850, which fell to $US34,193 in 2017, a 16% decline.

Reuters

What the industry does: Stores goods for businesses or consumers.


6. Miscellaneous professional and related services: In 1990, workers earned an inflation-adjusted average of $US62,980, which fell to $US51,091 in 2017, a 19% decline.

PhotoAlto/Eric Audras/Getty Images

What the industry does: Catchall category for business and personal services not included in some other industry category.


5. Barber shops: In 1990, workers earned an inflation-adjusted average of $US34,864, which fell to $US27,932 in 2017, a 20% decline.

REUTERS/Jason Cohn

What the industry does: Cuts hair and provides related grooming services for clients.


4. Lodging places, except hotels and motels: In 1990, workers earned an inflation-adjusted average of $US34,190, which fell to $US27,147 in 2017, a 21% decline.

Busà Photography/Getty Images

What the industry does: Provides residential space to tenants.


3. Miscellaneous food manufacturing: In 1990, workers earned an inflation-adjusted average of $US55,692, which fell to $US43,206 in 2017, a 22% decline.

Associated Press

What the industry does: Catchall category for food product manufacturing not included in some other industrial group.


2. Miscellaneous metal production industries: In 1990, workers earned an inflation-adjusted average of $US54,530, which fell to $US38,051 in 2017, a 30% decline.

Reuters

What the industry does: Catchall category for metalworking and metal production businesses not included in another industry group.


1. Chiropractor offices and clinics: In 1990, workers earned an inflation-adjusted average of $US80,721, which fell to $US53,027 in 2017, a 34% decline.

Baltimore Sun/ Getty

What the industry does: Treat ailments of patients’ spines and backs.

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