American Industry Woes

The economic woes of the last decade has caused the failure of some major companies and forced the redefinition of entire industries due to new technology, foreign competition and industry saturation resulting in stagnation. A recent report from research firm IBISWorld identifies ten U.S. industries that have experienced severe, and perhaps, irreversible declines over the past decade.

These industries have certainly experienced significant decreases in revenue since the early days of the recession, and are expected to experience further declines for the next five years. And while the decline of some high-profile industries have been well-documented for years, who knew that advances in our life style would be so far reaching?

Here are the industries mentioned in that study, with the biggest loser on top:

1. Apparel Manufacturing – Competition from abroad is sucking the life force out of the apparel manufacturing industry. Revenues are down 77.1 percent since 2000, and a further 60.5 percent decrease is expected over the next five years.

2. Record Stores – Almost 80 percent of record stores across the country have closed over the last decade.

3. Manufactured Home Dealers – In a market where new home sales are low and foreclosures the norm, manufactured home dealers’ revenue has decreased by nearly three quarters since 2000.

4. Photofinishing – Over the last ten years nearly 60 percent of photofinishers have closed, largely due to digital camera technology.

5. Wired Telecommunications Carriers – Due to digital  technology, the wired telecommunications industry revenue has declined each year since 2000.

6. American manufacturing – Competition from abroad, combined with cheaper production costs in foreign countries have led companies to abandon 23.6 percent of the mills across America since 2000.

7. Newspaper Publishing – 28.6 percent of American newspapers have closed since 2000.

8. DVD, Game & Video Rental – Competitors like Netflix, online streaming, digital cable and satellite TV have hit the movie rental business hard, causing hundreds of stores to close.  Revenue is expected to decline an additional 19.3 percent over the next six years.

9. Formal Wear – Things change. People just don’t get dressed up as often as they used to.

10. Video Post Production – Digital technology has made editing, production and animating much easier, and competent software is available to the novice user to do it themselves. 43.2 percent of postproduction companies have closed since 2000.

According to Forbes, there are other industries in trouble, including Bowling Alleys, Music Publishing, Self-Serve Laundries, Beer Production, Wired Telecommunications, Arcades and Entertainment Complexes, Tobacco Farming, and Footwear Manufacturing.

And then, of course, there’s the U.S. Postal System, which has reached the point that it is rapidly collapsing.  Due to the ease of e-mail, instant messaging, on-line payments, and the resulting decline of first class letters, mail volume is falling at a staggering rate, and the postal service’s survival plan isn’t reassuring. Instead of comments from the postal service about stopping Saturday deliveries, we may soon be hearing about thousands of those endearing postal service vehicles for sale at government clearance prices.


About Larry E. Vaughn Jr

Larry E Vaughn is a Missouri-based blogger/ content writer, and former career counselor. His published works can be found at HeliumNetwork, and InsideBusiness360 . He wrote for℠ and has additional websites at,,, and is publisher of The Self-Employment Journal,
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