NPR logo 10 Dying U.S. Industries

10 Dying U.S. Industries

What kills an industry? Technological innovation or global competition.

Take a look at this list from market research firm IBISWorld. It's for U.S. industries, and it's sorted by industry size:

Six of the 10 are clearly getting killed by technology: wired telecoms (i.e. landlines); newspapers; game and video rental; video postproduction; record stores; and photofinishing (i.e. photo printing).

Two of the 10 are clearly getting killed by global competition: apparel manufacturing and mills. (Mills, in this context, basically refers to what we think of as textiles — it includes textile mills, textile mills, apparel mills and carpet and rug mills.)

The That leaves two other industries: manufactured home dealers and formal wear.

Formal wear, as it turns out, is getting killed indirectly by foreign competition: Globalization means tuxes and the like are cheaper. So, the report says, "consumers are more inclined to pay a marginally higher price to own their formal wear rather than rent it for each occasion."

Manufactured homes (aka mobile homes) may be the exception. The IBISWorld report argues that manufactured home sales are stagnant because the industry is not innovating, and that sales are likely to continue falling in the coming years.

But a big chunk of the industry's trouble in the past decade came from the housing and credit boom. During the boom, it became much easier for people with low incomes to get mortgages to buy traditional homes.

For more: Read the full report.

Hat tip: WSJ.