During and after the Industrial Revolution, many skilled laborers found their work was no longer marketable due to the invention of machines which could perform the same tasks. For weavers, seamstresses, millers, and many other skilled laborers, the early phases of the Industrial Revolution meant they no longer had jobs. Machines which were faster and more efficient in production—and required only a one-time purchase rather than an ongoing wage—rapidly replaced a significant portion of the skilled labor force. As time went on, the rate of unemployment caused by machines began to decline, and people who might once have marketed a skill were hired to mind the machines in factories.
The Industrial Revolution also inspired a shift in labor demographics. Becoming a skilled laborer takes many years of training, meaning that if someone didn't begin an apprenticeship as a child, he or she might not begin to make a living wage until well into adulthood. With machines doing all of the skilled work in place of people, there was less demand on adult labor. Child employment skyrocketed during the Industrial Revolution because children were small enough to fit inside of machines in need of repair and also required less food and wages.