- The American economy has changed since 2000, as globalization and the rise of the internet have transformed entire sectors.
- We found 20 industries that employed lots of Americans at the turn of the millennium that are a fraction of the size today.
- The hardest-hit sectors are manufacturing industries like apparel production that have lost jobs to automation and trade, and industries like newspaper publishing and video rental that have largely moved online.
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In 2000, the world wide web was barely a decade old, and the first big internet tech boom was only beginning to threaten incumbent industries. Watching videos at home and listening to music still involved walking to an actual store, and the overwhelming majority of Americans got their news from TV or print newspapers.
A lot has changed since the turn of the millennium, and to take a look at how the economy has been transformed, we found 20 jobs that employed hundreds of thousands of people in 2000 that are only a fraction of that size today.
Using data from the 2000 Census and the 2017 American Community Survey assembled by the Minnesota Population Center’s Integrated Public Use Microdata Series project, we looked at what industries had the biggest percent drops in employment between then and now.
For our analysis, we looked at industries that had at least 100,000 people employed in 2000. We also excluded military branches and a handful of “catchall” industrial groupings used by the Census, instead focusing on specific industries in the civilian sector.
Textiles and apparel manufacturing, non-digital publishing, and certain types of retail stores that have been replaced by online alternatives all show up on the list. These industries have been hit particularly hard by changes in global trade and the rise of the internet in the 21st century.
Here are the industries, along with the number of employees in 2000 and 2017: