I wrote an article about America’s 10 best jobs. These ranged from software engineer to dental hygienist and from mathematician to IT manager. All of these jobs, save dental hygienist, paid more than $60,000 a year and several had average annual salaries of $90,000 and better.
This got me thinking about what might be the worst paying jobs in the US. I found an article today that answered this question. In fact, as this article pointed out, job growth distribution over the past two recoveries suggests that we are becoming a nation of low-income jobs. In fact, the jobs with the lowest net growth were middle-income jobs such as office jobs and manufacturing.
While many of these lower paying jobs used to be filled by younger workers who were just starting out, they are being occupied more and more as survival jobs by people who have been “downsized.”
Number one on the list
The job that has the dubious distinction of offering the worst wages, according to National Debt Relief, is food preparation and serving workers, including fast food. This type of job brings in about $8.71 an hour. Of course, they do require little or no education and many of them are part-time.
The second worst job is dishwasher. There are almost a half million of them in the US and they earn about $8.81 an hour. These jobs require practically no training but can be a stepping-stone to something better.
The worst jobs–numbers 3 and 4
You can find cashiers working almost everywhere from clothing stores to fast food restaurants. The job pays a crummy $9.15 an hour or $19,000 a year. Cashiers do require some understanding of math and are usually trained on the job. Most employers will not hire a person for this job unless he or she has at least a high school diploma.
Number 4 on the list of worst paying jobs is hosts and hostesses. They earn about $9.23 an hour which is even less than what waiters and waitresses earn. Of course, they don’t do the same sort of heavy lifting as is done by wait staff.
Amusement park attendants and movie theater ticket takers
Amusement park attendants came in at number 5 as they earn only about $9.50 an hour. They typically get on-the-job training and need to have good customer service skills. Movie theater ushers and ticket takers are basically entry-level jobs that require little training and pay an average of $9.43 an hour. Of course, there is a benefit to being an usher, which is that you get to watch a lot of movies free.
Americans often cite this job as one they don’t want. Farm workers make about $9.51 an hour and the work is both strenuous and dangerous. Seventy percent of these workers were born outside the US and the overwhelming majority of them work in California.
Personal and home care aides
The good news of this job is that opportunities are expected to increase by nearly 50% over the next 10 years. This is due to the aging of our population and the care they will require because of increasing health problems. However, the work can be unpleasant and grueling as it includes such tasks as dealing with bedpans and dirty bed linens. It pays an average of $9.75 an hour and people who do this job have a high incidence of injuries and work related illnesses.
As you may have noticed
As you may have noticed four out of these eight bad paying jobs–or 50%–are restaurant or food service related. There are several reasons for this. First, these jobs require little training and practically no skills. Second, the profit margins in the restaurant business are very, very thin so that employers just can’t afford to pay much more than minimum wage. Also, most of the jobs are part-time. The good news is that they are easy to get, they can be a way for people to supplement their income, and are good for people who want to work only part time.
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