US National archives via Wiki
- Several jobs that employed thousands of people in the 1970s have dwindled in popularity or completely vanished.
- Technology is behind some of the changes. Typing was a specialized skill in the 1970s, but now everybody has their own keyboards.
- Here are eight jobs that have virtually disappeared over the past 50 years.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
The tectonic shifts in the US economy since the advent of computers and the rise of the internet have transformed American jobs.
Some older workers, whose skills were prized when they started their careers, have been left behind by shifts in demand.
If you got your first job in the 1960s or 1970s, you might have been part of the typing pool, sold encyclopedias door-to-door, or set type for a printer. You will find few if any openings in these professions today.
Here are eight jobs that have disappeared over the past 50 years.
Before computers, there were typists who took shorthand or dictation and typed it up in triplicate.
There are still a few word processor jobs, mostly in law firms. As of 2017, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 65,200 word processor and typist jobs. Most of these jobs were in government offices and schools.
But this job category has all but disappeared from the private workforce. Now that everyone is his or her own typist, it’s hard to see a future for this position.
You may think it’s a modern innovation to get your milk delivered by Instacart, but the milkman who brought milk from the local dairy was a venerable tradition. The milkman would put glass bottles in an insulated box on your porch. You’d leave the empties there for him to pick up on delivery day.
This disappearing job may be making a minor comeback to satisfy demand for fresh-from-the-farm food. But milk delivery will probably never again be as common as it was 50 years or more ago.
Video store clerk
Brian Vander Brug/Getty Images
One whole industry has both blossomed and completely disappeared in just the last 50 years: video rentals. The first video store opened in 1977 in Los Angeles and rented videos for a staggering $10 a day. The Family Video chain still has 660 stores, mostly in small cities in the Midwest, but the Blockbuster chain went bankrupt in 2010 and soon will have only one store left.
At its height, Blockbuster had 84,300 employees. Thousands of mom-and-pop shops and smaller chains employed clerks as well. But the pleasure of browsing the aisles and taking a chance on a staff movie pick couldn’t compete with the instant gratification of streaming video on Netflix. The video store clerk is a vanishing breed.
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