Nationally, there are at LEAST 10 conservatories that graduate a minimum of 5 high caliber professional level bassists EVERY year. (Guessing at these numbers, but probably higher.) That's 50 or more cats ready to do business.
There are probably about 5 full time orchestra jobs that open up each year to audition for, and don't forget, international players are also invited.
To me this means that over the last 40 years, while the legacy music business is shrinking, the college system has seen steady and continued growth.
Some of my questions are,
1. why is specifically orchestral bass playing, and auditioning still such a large part of the music student's curriculum?
2. What can be substituted? My suggestion is music entrepreneurship.
3. Colleges are now amazingly adept at attracting the philanthropic support necessary to keep the educational system well oiled. Should some of that money be redistributed towards the non-profit performing arts which are always struggling to maintain themselves, let alone avoid shrinking.