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April 19, 2012 10:51 AM   Subscribe

The top 10 dying industries in the United States, The 10 fastest growing American industries
posted by fearfulsymmetry (95 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite

 
Eponysterical? ;)
posted by Celsius1414 at 10:54 AM on April 19, 2012 [9 favorites]


I can't tell which list is more depressing.
posted by darksasami at 10:55 AM on April 19, 2012 [9 favorites]


Number one growth industry? Writers of top 10 lists.
posted by The Whelk at 10:55 AM on April 19, 2012 [19 favorites]


The top 10...

Et tu, Washington Post?
posted by 2bucksplus at 10:57 AM on April 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


*Begins work on self-tanning hot sauce.
posted by perhapses at 10:57 AM on April 19, 2012 [25 favorites]


Solar panel manufacturing is a growth industry?
posted by KokuRyu at 10:58 AM on April 19, 2012


Does anyone else suddenly feel like rewatching Black Mirror or an Adam Curtis series?
posted by trackofalljades at 10:59 AM on April 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


Is "Making Top 10 Lists" on the dying side or the growing side?
posted by spicynuts at 11:00 AM on April 19, 2012


I'm surprised there's enough apparel still being made here for the industry to count as "dying" as opposed to "long gone."

Why would banking be fading away? Or do they mean bank staff?
posted by Western Infidels at 11:00 AM on April 19, 2012


ah poop...the whelk beat me.
posted by spicynuts at 11:00 AM on April 19, 2012


The growth list points to a society in decline, with the exception of the solar panel manufacturing. The rest might as well all be named "Nero's Fiddles". (How much hot sauce can one nation really use?)
posted by maxwelton at 11:03 AM on April 19, 2012 [5 favorites]


Solar panel manufacturing is a growth industry?

Your goddamn right it is:
The U.S. solar energy industry installed a record 1,855 megawatts (MW) of photovoltaic (PV) capacity in 2011, according to the latest U.S. Solar Market Insight report. The amount represents a 109% growth rate over the previous year and is enough to power more than 370,000 homes. The total more than doubled the previous annual record of 887 MW set in 2010.
I'm not one for grand MSM conspiracy theories, but the one where North Americans still think solar power isn't commercially viable is pretty convincing. Of course, I'm pretty sure Hanlon's razor applies in this case.
posted by gompa at 11:03 AM on April 19, 2012 [4 favorites]


I've been doing my best to support growth in the hot sauce industry.
posted by Trurl at 11:04 AM on April 19, 2012 [4 favorites]


Your ---> you're (goddammit I never do that . . .)
posted by gompa at 11:04 AM on April 19, 2012


I'm surprised frozen yogurt isn't in the top ten.
posted by shortyJBot at 11:07 AM on April 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


>Solar panel manufacturing is a growth industry?

Your goddamn right it is:


That's just installation, but solar panels themselves are a commodity, and manufacturing is centred in, where else, China.

Engineering smart grid systems on the other hand...
posted by KokuRyu at 11:08 AM on April 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


Appliance repair is dying because, as the report puts it, there’s “a rising tendency among consumers to purchase new household appliances rather than repair them.”

Isn't that a nice way of saying there's a rising tendency among appliances to be crappy enough to break down quickly and cheap enough to make it not worth fixing them?
posted by escabeche at 11:08 AM on April 19, 2012 [33 favorites]


Hot sauce manufacturing? Really? As much as I love me some Tabasco, homemade pepper sauce, and sriracha I can't help but wonder if we're being trolled here. Or at the very least if their data/data set is all over the map but not really covering the whole picture, if that makes sense...

"Number 11 on the list of growing job is Amish Shoelace Stretcher, more news at ten."
posted by RolandOfEld at 11:09 AM on April 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


Growth in generic drugs + growth in hot sauce = perfect time to start a generic pepto-bismol business.
posted by thecjm at 11:09 AM on April 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


"Computer programmer, computer magazine columnist, sooooomething with computers?"
posted by The Card Cheat at 11:10 AM on April 19, 2012 [3 favorites]


escabeche: but aren't both of those (crappier appliances and not repairing appliances both) ultimately caused by consumer behavior anyway?
posted by RolandOfEld at 11:11 AM on April 19, 2012


How much hot sauce can one nation really use?

On behalf of the good people of Canada, we happily accept your challenge.
posted by modernnomad at 11:12 AM on April 19, 2012 [3 favorites]


"I just want to say one word to you. Just one word."
"Yes, sir. "
"Are you listening?"
"Yes, I am."
"Tabasco."
"Exactly how do you mean?"
posted by griphus at 11:12 AM on April 19, 2012 [18 favorites]


For Profit Universities- weren't we supposed to be reigning them in, or did that not happen?
posted by wittgenstein at 11:16 AM on April 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


manufacturing is centred in, where else, China

Where it is heavily subsidized by the government, fwiw.
posted by Trurl at 11:17 AM on April 19, 2012


Jesus, for-profit universities need to be regulated. Another example for a "growth" industry built completely on lies.
posted by clockzero at 11:17 AM on April 19, 2012 [6 favorites]


Artisan Social Networking Games
posted by Artw at 11:18 AM on April 19, 2012 [4 favorites]


Example of, rather.
posted by clockzero at 11:18 AM on April 19, 2012


Isn't that a nice way of saying there's a rising tendency among appliances to be crappy enough to break down quickly and cheap enough to make it not worth fixing them?

I've been asking everyone and their brother around here where I can get my 10-year-old DVD/VHS player fixed. No one has any idea. The few places I've called won't look at it (even though it's the DVD part that doesn't work, not the VHS part). And this is in a major US city.
posted by Melismata at 11:19 AM on April 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


Isn't that a nice way of saying there's a rising tendency among appliances to be crappy enough to break down quickly and cheap enough to make it not worth fixing them?

My wife's grandparents had a dishwasher that broke and was probably 40 years old. So, they purchased a replacement motor and had it installed. Finding and purchasing the motor took weeks and wasn't cheap. A few weeks later that motor broke. The were finally able to find another one, but it was the only one the repairman could find; he claimed it was the last in the country. Naturally, they started sitting by the dishwasher so they could stop it at the first sign of trouble, lest they destroy the last remaining dishwasher motor for their dishwasher.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 11:20 AM on April 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


Solar panel manufacturing is a growth industry?

Yes. The African rural market prefers European made technology first (American has not yet reached/is not yet affordable) over Chinese or locally made. Citations available on request.
posted by infini at 11:22 AM on April 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


but aren't both of those (crappier appliances and not repairing appliances both) ultimately caused by consumer behavior anyway?

Not if the consumer behaviour currently observed was crafted by a combination of implementing both those strategies in the late fifties and early sixties. See Vance Packard.
posted by infini at 11:24 AM on April 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


Costume and team apparel manufacturing? Is that just outsourcing to China?

Growth in generic drugs + growth in hot sauce = perfect time to start a generic pepto-bismol business.

And you'll just have to call it "Pepto-Bismo" and you'll capture the entire Southern market without anyone even realizing they've switched!
posted by cmoj at 11:26 AM on April 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


I have to believe that Billy Mitchell is somehow behind the suddenly powerful hot sauce lobby.

Although I'm not sure if that makes him more, or instead less evil.
posted by ShutterBun at 11:31 AM on April 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


Not if the consumer behaviour currently observed was crafted ...

Fair enough, but I still think consumers do hold the key to what good are consumed. Maybe that's naive or invalid somehow, but I don't buy things that are trashy/likely to break down/don't have a warranty that's worth a damn. If consumers A) cared, B) were intelligent/educated enough, and C) actually had to pay the full, lifetime cost of goods then things would be alot better. Oh, throw social equality and world peace in there somewhere as well while I'm dreaming...

That said, scary and self-serving propaganda/research/corporate tricks directed at the populace is scary and self-serving.
posted by RolandOfEld at 11:31 AM on April 19, 2012


maxwelton: "The growth list points to a society in decline, with the exception of the solar panel manufacturing. The rest might as well all be named "Nero's Fiddles". (How much hot sauce can one nation really use?)"

The increase in hot sauce is probably from two causes:
* The increasing population of Hispanic-Americans and their influence on the culinary preferences of all Americans.
* The flavorless frozen food dreck that poor people are forced to eat tastes way better with hot sauce.
posted by wcfields at 11:38 AM on April 19, 2012 [6 favorites]


Photofinishing.

.

posted by Spatch at 11:39 AM on April 19, 2012 [3 favorites]


Isn't that a nice way of saying there's a rising tendency among appliances to be crappy enough to break down quickly and cheap enough to make it not worth fixing them?

Man, my grandmother and I use her at-least-thirty-and-possibly-forty year old washer and dryer. I'm pretty sure they were retrofitted from a Valentine tank. The washer has a quaint list of gerryrigs to attempt before calling for service ("Replace washer hoses. Drain barrel by hand; then reset breaker. NEVER AGITATE BARREL BY HAND. SERIOUS INJURY COULD RESULT."). The dryer shakes six inches back and forth when it's in the drying cycle and it has an alarm-clock buzzer. The biggest problem we've had recently was when I accidentally dropped a three-pack of toothbrushes into the dryer vent, followed by a feather duster while attempting to extricate the toothbrushes (I wasn't home for the service call, which is good, because I'm sure it was all very amusing to the repairman). I'm convinced those things are going to outlive me, like the cockroaches.
posted by Snarl Furillo at 11:51 AM on April 19, 2012


My parents are still using the Maytag washer they got when they were married approximately 40 years ago; they had to replace the dryer though--it only lasted 35 years. I wonder if Maytags are still that good?

Those were the days...
posted by smirkette at 11:57 AM on April 19, 2012


Isn't that a nice way of saying there's a rising tendency among appliances to be crappy enough to break down quickly and cheap enough to make it not worth fixing them?

We have a 1953 GE Hotpoint stove that is perfect. Everything on it still works (save the clock) and I know that the previous owners of the house were not big with the maintenence so it has nothing to do with being well taken care of. This thing is a beast and the only flaw is that it's a vile mustard yellow. If I can figure out how to change its color, you better believe I'll keep it as long as it works, which will likely be another 20 years.

Say what you will, but American made appliances from the 1950s and 1960s are well made and as long as you can find parts, they'll run forever. There's something to be said for simplistic designs and entry-level technology.
posted by teleri025 at 12:00 PM on April 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


We’ve reached the point where it’s often easier to buy a new laundry machine than to call in the Maytag repairman.

My first thought was that forums and YouTube were helping people do their own repairs instead. I have, anyway. I've taken on all kinds of appliance repairs I'd never imagined years ago.
posted by hypersloth at 12:04 PM on April 19, 2012 [5 favorites]


I just spent $33 on a dryer rebuild kit - 2nd time I'll have done it to our 15 year old bottom of line basic clothes dryer. As soon as I get an hour to do the rebuild I fully expect at least another 3 years of trouble free operation from the dryer.

People are lazy, and Gen X seems to have grown up not learning the very basics of how use tools. Which is a real shame, as Google will usually return step-by-step directions on how to fix just about anything.
posted by COD at 12:16 PM on April 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


Naturally, they started sitting by the dishwasher so they could stop it at the first sign of trouble, lest they destroy the last remaining dishwasher motor for their dishwasher.

Good grief! That sounds like something out of the end of Atlas Shrugged. Which is ironic, really.
posted by lucien_reeve at 12:17 PM on April 19, 2012


The generic pharmaceutical market is booming because all the blockbuster drugs are coming off-patent. That's important to keep in mind, because there's no innovation involved, excepting that related to driving down costs. Which means that the boom will be self-limiting, as more and more generic firms start to compete. Whereas in other industries, money might drive the creation of new/better products, the generic industry is stuck with pre-existing products. And there's not too many new blockbusters coming down the pipeline these days...
posted by dephlogisticated at 12:24 PM on April 19, 2012


So, who wants to contribute to my Kickstarter for licensing Tabasco and making HotSauceVille, a social networking game where you take the shitty food people make in other cooking games and add a spritz of Tabasco to it? Line forms here:
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 12:24 PM on April 19, 2012


Hot sauce production

I believe it. In this part of the country you cant enter a sporting goods store, gift shop, truck stop without being confonted by a wall that will convince you everyone that can print the words "hell" "ass-kicking" "satan's" or "inferno" on the label thinks they have a chance at the hot sauce/rub/chili mix game.
posted by sourwookie at 12:27 PM on April 19, 2012 [3 favorites]


1. Photofinishing - Evolution. Sort of. Seems everyone will sell you crap prints of your digital files that fade quicker than traditional photos. They call that progress.

2. Newspaper publishing - Papers have only themselves to blame for their decline. In many places, a well-run local paper is still a necessary thing in terms of keeping tabs on what local government might be up to.

3. Appliance repair - Kind of surprised at this, since so much stuff is cheaply-made crap that breaks quick. I still use the repair guy when it's something bigger than I can handle. It's still cheaper than buying a new washer. Puzzling.

4. DVD, game, and video rental - Evolution

5. Money market and other banking - It's not that these products aren't needed. It's merely that banks don't give two shits about the customers who would use them if they paid more than .4% apr. You know...Middle class families.

6. Recordable media manufacturing - More evolution.

7. Hardware manufacturing - Still in-demand. Gone to China.

8. Shoe and footwear manufacturing - Still in-demand. Gone to China.

9. Costume and team uniform manufacturing - Still in-demand. Gone to China.

10. Women’s and girls’ apparel manufacturing - Still in-demand. Gone to China.
posted by Thorzdad at 12:30 PM on April 19, 2012 [4 favorites]


People are lazy, and Gen X seems to have grown up not learning the very basics of how use tools. Which is a real shame, as Google will usually return step-by-step directions on how to fix just about anything.

Wait, what? Why is this Gen X's fault? I refuse to leave your lawn and I'll continue to stand here, toolbox in hand.

I've painted and done handyman work on all three of the homes I have owned, thank you very much.
posted by Fleebnork at 12:31 PM on April 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


Gen X seems to have grown up not learning the very basics of how use tools.

But...I keep getting told that they're all Makers™ now!
posted by Thorzdad at 12:36 PM on April 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


The African rural market prefers European made technology first (American has not yet reached/is not yet affordable) over Chinese or locally made. Citations available on request.<>

Oh?

posted by Juffo-Wup at 12:36 PM on April 19, 2012


Wait, what? Why is this Gen X's fault? I refuse to leave your lawn and I'll continue to stand here, toolbox in hand.

I am GenX. I was pointing out the flaw in my own generation. The vast majority of people my age that I know personally can't even change the lighbulb in their tail lights, let alone do anything even moderately involved with a car or appliance.

Personally, I get a probably unreasonable amount of satisfaction from fixing something for $50 in parts that would have otherwise cost me $200+ with a repairman, or way more to replace.

My wife does not always appreciate this quality.
posted by COD at 12:38 PM on April 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


Another example for a "growth" industry built completely on lies.

Welcome to the American economy, circa 2012.
posted by kgasmart at 12:40 PM on April 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'm going to buy a refrigerator, washer, and dryer tonight, on the first day of my state's Green Tax Holiday. One thing that I've heard from friends, family, and sales representatives, though, is that no matter what my choices are, the fact is that the days of these appliances lasting 20+ years is gone. Everything that can be made with plastic is. You can bet that this has a large effect on how much money I am spending. I think I remember being told that the average life of fridges being 8.xx years and washers is 6.xx years.

Often, people also can't perform their own maintenance on newer computer-controlled appliances, unless they happen to have the computer interface handy. When you install, say, a new pump, some models also require you to tell the computer inside that you did that, so it can calibrate correctly. Like car computers, it seems designed to keep the average layman from tinkering with things they know nothing about, as well as keeping repairmen in business. As an engineer, this is annoying, since tinkering with things is how many people learn. To be fair, though, I'm sure there are benefits as far as overall safety.

Knowing how cheap washers and dryers are, their average lifespan, and the cost of maintenance (since I can't fix them myself), is it any wonder that appliance repair is going down as an industry?
posted by mysterpigg at 12:41 PM on April 19, 2012


> Gen X seems to have grown up not learning the very basics of how use tools.

Wait, what? Why is this Gen X's fault? I refuse to leave your lawn and I'll continue to stand here, toolbox in hand.

Heck, I'll one-up you and show up with my mower rescued from a dumpster and repaired by me with parts from my junk box. I'll even mow said lawn for $20 and a cold beer.
(I hate being unemployed...)
posted by 1f2frfbf at 12:43 PM on April 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


Personally, I get a probably unreasonable amount of satisfaction from fixing something for $50 in parts that would have otherwise cost me $200+ with a repairman, or way more to replace.

I made the same point about my house recently, and someone here accused me of withholding money from the economy. i should have said I was helping the manufacturing sector by spending my money on tools and materials instead.
posted by anigbrowl at 12:44 PM on April 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


But...I keep getting told that they're all Makers™ now!

You do realize that the older end of Gen X is 45+ now right? Our kids might be Makers, us not so much!
posted by COD at 12:44 PM on April 19, 2012 [3 favorites]


Somehow, between the winning list and the dying list, it seems that the US will manufacture stuff that shows up in airport kiosks.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 12:45 PM on April 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


Personally, I get a probably unreasonable amount of satisfaction from fixing something for $50 in parts that would have otherwise cost me $200+ with a repairman, or way more to replace.

My wife does not always appreciate this quality.


My wife's wedding present was a motorcycle I bought cheap and subsequently rebuilt for her. I hear much less giggling now. I suggest bringing them into the fold through bribery, if necessary.
posted by 1f2frfbf at 12:46 PM on April 19, 2012


To the people snarking about top-ten lists being a growth industry: hey, at least they didn't put each item on its own page, with a big photograph, braindead caption and three advertisements on each.

Why hot-sauce making and yoga studios rank on the list: it's probably a case of there being just slightly too few items on the list to justify making it ten items long, but they went ahead with 10 entries anyway. If they were ranked, that'd almost certainly be in the lower half of the list. Alternate explanation: their methodology for compiling the list is flaws in some way, such as measuring growth in percent. Hot-sauce making is such a niche industry that a fad for spicy food could disproportionately warp growth figures. The real story here, I think, is why there weren't enough other strong growth industries to displace the questionable entries. In most cases, it's probably because of the continued availability of incredibly cheap foreign labor.

On for-profit universities: you can get student loans for these, I hear. That's a pile of money that would ordinarily go largely to a government entity instead spinning down into a corporate pocket.
posted by JHarris at 12:48 PM on April 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


HotSauceVille

Scoville
posted by theodolite at 12:48 PM on April 19, 2012 [18 favorites]


I believe it. In this part of the country you cant enter a sporting goods store, gift shop, truck stop without being confonted by a wall that will convince you everyone that can print the words "hell" "ass-kicking" "satan's" or "inferno" on the label thinks they have a chance at the hot sauce/rub/chili mix game.

You know it's really good if it's got a cartoon of a devil stabbing a cowboy in the ass while flames shoot out of the cowboy's mouth.
posted by Copronymus at 12:54 PM on April 19, 2012 [6 favorites]


Oh?

Is this a question, a request or merely an observation?
posted by infini at 12:56 PM on April 19, 2012


I would have thought appliance repair would be a booming business; everyone in my social strata (middle class) has attempted or is in the middle of repairing a major appliance. For example, my ex hasn't been able to wash clothes for a month because he is trying to track down a part for his 30 year old washer.

I had to have my 5 year old gas stove (GE) repaired a couple of years ago. It still felt like a "new" appliance to me because it was less than 4 years old and it cost around $1,000. Not the sort of purchase I plan to make more than a few times in my life. Unfortunately the oven would no longer get hot. My husband read up on the topic, found out that the pilot lights are not manufactured to last more than 4 years. He ordered the part ($100) and replaced it himself. Still didn't work. We were lucky to find a retired guy who was a specialist. It turned out to be the clock component-- the entire part had to be replaced which with labor came to around $400. So now we are up to nearly $500. I asked him about one of the front burners which never worked right (too little gas meant a very tiny flame.) He said with parts and labor that would come to $250.00. I asked him about the paint that was peeling off the side already (remember this thing is less than 4 years old) and he told me the paint is no longer baked in-- it is sprayed on. The manufacturers no longer expect you to keep the major appliances for 30 or 40 years so they make them cheap and shoddy. I can keep replacing parts but the warming tray is all rusty and the bottom of the oven is in very bad shape-- pitted and peeling. I imagine it will be cheaper in the long run to buy new in 5 to 10 years.

Meanwhile, the 1 year old French door refrigerator ($1600.00) has begun to show its age; the long drawer has cracked in two. It can be replaced for $30.00 but for now I'm living with a duct tape repair.

I realize quality has a price-- but what is that price? Can I afford it? I honestly thought I was buying a decent appliance-- not the most expensive but not the cheapest-- because I don't want to have to keep replacing my oven. And according to my repairman (who worked for GE for 30 years) they are spraying on the paint on even the most expensive Viking ranges these days.

If you want to talk about small appliances that's an even worse situation as far as I'm concerned. I've had 5 coffee makers in 5 years-- from the $19.00 model to the $100.00 model. Every year I've had to buy a new DVD player , a new hand-vac, and a new electric blanket-- if it lasts more than a year I consider myself lucky.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 12:58 PM on April 19, 2012 [5 favorites]


Papers have only themselves to blame for their decline.

What? All of us should be reading print newspapers instead of checking news on "computers" and "smartphones?" This clearly is part of your "evolution" category. The fundamental technology needed for disseminating news has evolved.

I'm surprised brick & mortar bookstores aren't mentioned. That is a declining business for sure.
posted by mattbucher at 1:10 PM on April 19, 2012


I realize quality has a price

This bon mot has been used to excuse so much shoddy quality for far too long.
posted by Thorzdad at 1:17 PM on April 19, 2012


I hope that social gaming stays put on that list, since I'm going to be writing a thesis about it over the next 4 years or so.
posted by codacorolla at 1:20 PM on April 19, 2012


CDs are not "Recordable Media", that would be CDRs (wanted to make pedantic tags but they get stripped). I don't think there's been much manufacturing of recordable media in the US for a while. The decline of replicated discs is another matter which is currently affecting me personally. Downloadable content I think has actually shifted consumption from replicated discs to recordable (e.g. people won't buy a music CD but will burn a disc to play in their car).
posted by achrise at 1:23 PM on April 19, 2012


Isn't that a nice way of saying there's a rising tendency among appliances to be crappy enough to break down quickly and cheap enough to make it not worth fixing them?

In my experience, it's not necessarily a factor that they break down quickly, but that they *are* often cheap enough to make it not worth fixing them. When calling in someone to repair runs to 50+% of the price of a new appliance, many people figure they might as well spend a bit extra and get a whole new appliance that's under warranty.
posted by chimaera at 1:30 PM on April 19, 2012


All of us should be reading print newspapers instead of checking news on "computers" and "smartphones?"
I meant newspapers as information gathering organizations, not the physical object. Where do you think the news on your smartphone originates? On the smaller, local level, there aren't crowds of bloggers reporting the comings and goings of elected leaders the way they do in larger cities and on the national level. That's still the job of the local reporters...if they still exist. And, many of the ones that do survive have been shrunk to where they can barely afford to send someone to cover the town council meetings.

As papers die, that eye on local government begins to close. I blame the papers for not negotiating their entry into the digital age more successfully.
posted by Thorzdad at 1:32 PM on April 19, 2012


My first thought was that forums and YouTube were helping people do their own repairs instead. I have, anyway. I've taken on all kinds of appliance repairs I'd never imagined years ago.

This. I watched a tutorial on youtube, ordered a part online, did about 20 min. worth of work, and saved my family having to buy a new dryer. Total cost: $35.00 for the part and 1 hours worth of time.

Without the tutorial, I would have been completely lost, and out several hundred dollars for a new appliance. Internets, FTW!
posted by Chrischris at 1:34 PM on April 19, 2012


Isn't that a nice way of saying there's a rising tendency among appliances to be crappy enough to break down quickly and cheap enough to make it not worth fixing them?

If a machine and an idiot can build something but it takes skill and devotion to fix it then of course you just replace it; it doesn't require anything about appliances getting crappier. Foreign labor and loose foreign manufacturing / mining restrictions have made it much less expensive to build an appliance, but no less expensive to have a skilled worker in the US come to your house.
posted by a robot made out of meat at 1:42 PM on April 19, 2012


I read the second list first thinking it would be less depressing, I was wrong.
posted by bongo_x at 1:44 PM on April 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


1. I wonder how they compiled this?

e.g. From 150,000 -> 70,000 clothes jobs gets it on the dying list
from 200 -> 1000 hot sauce jobs gets it on the boom list

Because the dying list sounds like good solid chunks of an economy and the boom list looks like itty bitty flavour of the month bullshit stuff. Bush league. America will not maintain its world dominance with a formidable home tanning industry.

2. There must be a market for old-school "built forever" low tech appliances. I would pay a premium for the analogue buy once in your lifetime indestructible washing machine. I don't need blinkenlights, just a big clunky on / off switch and a drain cock. Someone should get on this, it's retro and hip and new and there is money to be made.
posted by Meatbomb at 1:58 PM on April 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


There must be a market for old-school "built forever" low tech appliances. I would pay a premium for the analogue buy once in your lifetime indestructible washing machine. I don't need blinkenlights, just a big clunky on / off switch and a drain cock. Someone should get on this, it's retro and hip and new and there is money to be made.

Reverse and frugal innovation. Double the market instantly.
posted by infini at 2:13 PM on April 19, 2012


My fridge is 81 years old and built like a tank. Having said that, it did need some repair recently -- for possibly the first time ever. It uses less energy than modern fridges and takes up a lot less space (though some people must have their behemoth fridges, I guess). If they made new fridges with the quality of my 1931 GE Monitor Top I think there would probably be a market for them, but God only knows what they'd charge for 'em.

It would be nice if there were more people around who can work on these old appliances. I had to send mine to another part of the state -- but at least the repairman is located in my state. There are very few people left in the whole country who can repair these fridges.
posted by litlnemo at 2:32 PM on April 19, 2012


Doesn't it make you happy to know that we're not paying for most of the stuff on this list?

1, 2, 4, 5. photofinishing; DVD, game, and video rental; Money market and other banking; Newspaper publishing

To the commenter above, yes the mean **bank staff** — do we really need so many bank tellers, and customer service people? Do you really want to pay for them? Every time you go in person to the teller, that's you paying this person's salary. It's the same with video game rental and photofinishing and newspaper reading: these can be done online.

6-10. manufacturing

There are people far less skilled and educated than Americans who can do these manufacturing jobs for cheaper.

3. Appliance repair

This is a consequence of cheap foreign manufacturing, and high domestic wages. If you could send your appliances away for repair, it might be cheaper to repair them…



Banks can't die fast enough in my books. Every year they gouge millions of dollars from Americans in fees that bear no relationship to their costs (e.g., overdraft fees) and low interest rates in order to pay an army of bank staff that we don't need. What we need are good online banks and a high level of competition to keep savings account interest rates up. It should be free and effortless to move money between competing banks.

My dream is for cell phone companies to join this list. Right now, we are paying extortionate fees for service that costs them almost nothing. It may be a company like Google that takes them down by offering a low cost service in order to make money on the increased internet usage.
posted by esprit de l'escalier at 2:32 PM on April 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


In the grand scheme of things, are video rental, photofinishing and appliance repair that large? Compared to large swatches of manufacturing?
posted by Yakuman at 2:33 PM on April 19, 2012


Also, I'm hoping that hotels and car ownership/rental start declining in favour of services like airbnb and zipcar (and the zipcar competitor where regular people rent their under-utilized cars.)

We're moving to society with better utilization of resources, which means lower prices. All the freed up labour can be reallocated to things we actually use. The internet is like the second industrial revolution.
posted by esprit de l'escalier at 2:53 PM on April 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


Appliances: Survivor bias, I would bet it accounts for a very significant portion of these "things just ain't built like they used to be" anecdotes. When's the last time someone told you about their amazing 1963 dryer that died the same year?
posted by Cosine at 2:54 PM on April 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


Also, I'm hoping that hotels and car ownership/rental start declining in favour of services like airbnb

Yup, just got back from a 5 week roadtrip, some airbnb, some hotel, if I were a hotelier right about now I would be very worried.
posted by Cosine at 3:01 PM on April 19, 2012


if I were a hotelier right about now I would be very worried.

I don’t know, I can’t really think of anyone I know that’s interested in that. I think it appeals to certain groups more than others, and those are groups that don’t use hotels a lot anyway. I think they’re more tapping an underserved market than stealing from hotels. I could be wrong though.
posted by bongo_x at 3:09 PM on April 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


I don’t know, I can’t really think of anyone I know that’s interested in that. I think it appeals to certain groups more than others, and those are groups that don’t use hotels a lot anyway. I think they’re more tapping an underserved market than stealing from hotels. I could be wrong though.

What people are you referring to, I am referring to travellers. An informal poll around my office:

3/11: already used airbnb more than once (one who is going to all four tennis majors this year, all with airbnb for accomodations)
3/11: already aware and likely to use
5/11: unaware (not anymore!)

I had a neat hotel in downtown San Fran booked for a week, roughly $250/night. Checked airbnb, ended up snagging an entire floor of one of the Painted Ladies, with private garage, our own keys/entrance, etc. For $99/night. What people, other than 1% or business travellers do you not think would be at least interested in such a thing?
posted by Cosine at 3:25 PM on April 19, 2012


Air B&B: Yay for taking rental properties out of commission in an already ridiculously expensive market, and not having any health code regulations, lost hospitality taxes, etc. (I had a good experience with Air B&B in the past year, but I don't think the whole thing will last, once a warranted govt. crackdown begins on these properties. I still like a good hotel anyway, don't want to meet the owners necessarily--and you have to with a B&B. Every once in a while this is cool, but I don't want to meet and hang out with the owners every time I stay somewhere. And I do worry about the effect on renters in large cities with tourist populations, a la my former home of New Orleans, the lost tax revenue, etc.)
posted by raysmj at 3:36 PM on April 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


Cosine: That's a great deal for SF.

The thing I like about the move towards airbnb is that it's so much more human to rent a *home* than to rent an identical suite in a faceless hotel. There are some pretty beautiful hotels (in sf for example) that cost a lot and are probably worth it to some people. But, most hotels are such a soul-sucking experience. If you do have to rent a hotel room though, I found that priceline can save you about thirty or forty percent.

I think if work is paying for your stay and you're only there for one night, I might prefer the hotel stay for the hotel bar, etc.

Also, bongo_x, why would you use the phrase "stealing from hotels"? Isn't it a good effect?
posted by esprit de l'escalier at 3:38 PM on April 19, 2012


As someone who used to make bank repairing major appliances the decline in servicing has been happening for a long time; it's why I got out of the business 20 years ago. You didn't need a crystal ball to see that the business was dying; The Brick and it's ilk were selling stuff for less money new than I could sell serviced units for. And it's not that appliances have got all that much worse it's just that new ones have gotten so very much cheaper. Sure a lot of that is because they are made out of cheap injection molded plastic instead of cast metal and extruded aluminum and porcelin. But no one wants to pay for the old way of doing things in the same way that home buyers would rather shell out for granite counter tops and $15 a square foot carpet rather than pay for super insulated designs, solar panels or site appropriate archetecture.

Some things to consider: in 1970 a new side by side refrigerator would easily cost six months salary of the guy you called out to fix it. In the 1960s each of the big tubes in a microwave oven would cost six months salary; my father would be sweating bricks in fear of dropping one every time he need to change one. In 1960 the standard refirgerator was under 18 cu ft and most were manual defrost; a modern frost free refrigerator has three times as many things that can break down and you can't even buy a manual defrost over a few cubic feet anymore. Price reductions have paid for quality of life rather than durability.

And there was plenty of crap out there too; survior bias means you don't hear the stories about the 30 year old appliance that died 25 years ago. Heck some units were so crappy they were lucky to make it out of the warranty period *cough*franklin washer*cough*.

I would pay a premium for the analogue buy once in your lifetime indestructible washing machine.

There are lots of commecial units that would last a life time in residential use. Be warned that a pair will set you back the price of a small car and you might need to upgrade the electrical and venting in your laundry room.
posted by Mitheral at 3:46 PM on April 19, 2012 [7 favorites]


but I don't want to meet and hang out with the owners every time I stay somewhere

Entire interaction consisted of "hi, here's the keys and garage door opener, email me if you need anything"

I am pretty introverted and shy but even I can handle that in order to save $700.
posted by Cosine at 3:48 PM on April 19, 2012


The vast majority of people my age that I know personally can't even change the lighbulb in their tail lights, let alone do anything even moderately involved with a car or appliance.


Is it possible this is a problem with your choice of friends, and not your generation?
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 5:04 PM on April 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


You know, I look at Thorzdad's list, and it seems to me, somehow, that the West hasn't kept it's end of the bargain with the whole Knowledge Economy thing. We haven't redeemed the sacrifices being made on our behalf. (e.g. Chinese component factories costing Chinese lives.)

We really aren't giving back enough.
posted by vhsiv at 5:11 PM on April 19, 2012


There are lots of commecial units that would last a life time in residential use. Be warned that a pair will set you back the price of a small car and you might need to upgrade the electrical and venting in your laundry room.

You know, I googled the lowest-end washer there; the Econ-O-Wash had a quote for $1200. It's described as having a short (5-7 year) life span, but that's for light-duty use (i.e. 4-6 loads a day). I do 2 or 3 loads a week, so that's more like 45-150 years worth for me. If I was a homeowner in need of a washer, that would look somewhat tempting...
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 6:09 PM on April 19, 2012 [3 favorites]


What people are you referring to,

Anyone I know.

Also, bongo_x, why would you use the phrase "stealing from hotels"? Isn't it a good effect?

In response to "if I were a hotelier right about now I would be very worried."
posted by bongo_x at 6:16 PM on April 19, 2012


I wonder if Maytags are still that good?

NOOOOOOOOoooooo. We had one of their front-loading Neptune washers in a rental once. You'll feel like king of the seas when you slosh the basket around in all the standing water that collects at the bottom! Your clothes will have an oh-so-mildewy fragrance! Thrill as you bleach the mold that collects on the door seal about once a month!

I think they're still making the washing machines in Ohio, which is a shame, because I it's a design problem, not a manufacturing problem.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 6:20 PM on April 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


Growth in generic drugs + growth in hot sauce = perfect time to start a generic pepto-bismol business.

I bought Generic Pepto-Bismol once. It was a third of the price. It was called Pink Bismuth! (with the exclamation point!), and its label was in Comic Sans. I should have known.

I should have known.
posted by sonic meat machine at 6:28 PM on April 19, 2012 [4 favorites]


What does it say about these industries that they make me hope the American economy isn't growing very quickly?
posted by dixiecupdrinking at 6:41 PM on April 19, 2012


Speaking of newspaper consolidation...
posted by limeonaire at 8:53 PM on April 19, 2012


solar panels themselves are a commodity, and manufacturing is centred in, where else, China.

Just wanted to add that here in Milwaukee, where "industry has been in decline" for decades, we have a new solar panel manufacturing/assembly facility. It's really more assembly, and employs only a handful of people as most of it is robotized, but it does exist.

Also, the decline of repair is almost certainly tied to planned obsolescence and its effects on product engineering. Products are, in general, no longer designed to last or be repairable because money that goes to a repairman isn't going to the manufacturer for a new product. It's stupid, and I expect it will be changing as raw materials become increasingly scarce. There's already an increase in cradle-to-cradle design/engineering that appears promising in this regard.
posted by nTeleKy at 11:28 AM on April 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


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