Keeping the bees and getting the honey is the easy part (and fun!) :-D. The hard part is the marketing. If you can find a niche and sell tiny corked miracle bottles of magic organic wound-healing enzyme-packed liquid gold harvested from tiny angels with stings, you'll do great!
Ok, that is a bit thick, but IMHO the most important part really is marketing. Developing niches and the types of customers who are loyal. I'm not a marketing guy at all, and I can't do that, so I'm not going to be a full time beekeeper. I think that big operations can produce mass quantities to make it worthwhile at lower prices, but I think the smaller honey producers need a niche to thrive. To be both a successful physical laborer and a marketing guru is tricky and I think a rare trait.
There's also queens, nucs, pollination, honey/wax products, etc.
As to your overall question...I think that the nation as a whole is moving away from an agrarian society as we have for a long time. Economies of scale eliminate farmers and ranchers, and I don't think that honeybees scale as well which would explain why the #beeks and the # hives are both decreasing. There is so much uncertainty to farming so it is simpler to just have a 8-5 job (or was before last year!!).