The Slowest Growing Industries iin the US

Joe Weinlick
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A number of industries in the United States show signs of slow growth as of October 2014, according to a report by a prominent financial analysis firm. The report spotlights the slowest-growing industries in the country and provides some of the reasons behind their weak sales. Here is a closer look at a few of the main U.S. industries experiencing sluggish growth.


A variety of businesses related to metal wholesaling and manufacturing top the list of weak industries. These include companies that make metalworking machinery and businesses that process metals. The slump in this category appears tied to a drop in worldwide demand for metals. The falling prices for metals is also leading to lower profits for this industry as a whole.

Gasoline Stations

This slow-growing industry is known for its low profit margins, and weak profits generally hamper growth. Several factors underlie the sluggishness of this sector. Much of the profit from each gallon of gas goes to the gasoline refiner, not the retailer. Station owners also have transportation costs and gasoline taxes that eat into their profit margins. Another reason for gas stations being a weak industry is financial costs. The station owner must pay a percentage of his profits to financial institutions to process payments from customers using credit or debit cards.

Independent Grocers

Grocery stores not owned by publicly held companies rank high among the slowest-growing industries as well. These stores face a difficult economic challenge that is hitting them from two directions. They face tremendous competition from the large publicly held supermarket chains that dominate most regions of the country, and more consumers are buying grocery products online, which cuts into the sales of independent stores.

Jewelry, Leather Goods and Luggage Stores

This slow-growing industry is also a victim of the rapid growth of online shopping. Many customers simply find it more convenient to purchase these items over the Internet.


The sluggishness of the paper industry is another result of the increasing dominance of the digital world. Businesses simply no longer require as much paper as in the past, and more paper is being recycled. Bills and invoices now go out over the Internet. Many offices use very little paper or no paper at all. The paperless trend is very strong and does not appear likely to change in the future.

Specialized Designs Services

The businesses in this sector caters to those who require professional design services. The customers for this slow-growing industry includes companies that need designers to create new buildings or renovate their retail or office space. When other business are suffering from weak growth, the specialized design business is almost certain to experience a period of lower profits as well.

The slowest-growing industries in this list offer a challenge for job seekers. Anyone looking for a good job opportunity, however, may need to focus their attention on more dynamic businesses.


Photo courtesy of Anusorn P. Nachol at



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