Top 10 Worst Jobs in the US

Joseph Pickett October 11, 2012 Comments Off on Top 10 Worst Jobs in the US

The jobs market has not been what it used to be for a number of years now. This means that people often are more likely to take jobs that they in better times would never consider. So, if you are hard up for employment and cash, you might be thinking about taking a job that is not exactly on your Dream Job List.

However, you might want to think twice about taking a job in one of the fields below. Note that all of these jobs rate very low on desirability, according to, and many of them are dangerous and dirty. Pay tends to suck as well.

10. Iron Worker


This field requires you to work a great deal with hot metals, high up in the sky and not for much money.  It is a very tough career and most people who get into this sort of job do not last more than a few years. The Bureau of Labor Statistics states that the median income for iron workers is in the area of $20 per hour. Other things that stink about this line of work are that the work is sporadic; it depends entirely on the health of the construction business. Also, these jobs tend to disappear in recessions, and bad weather tends to cancel a good deal of work as well. Bonus: This field has the 4th highest fatality rate in the US: 61 per 100,000.

9. Roustabout


So, you’re wondering, how do I avoid this career if I don’t know what it is? Don’t worry, you are not alone. A roustabout does maintenance on pipelines and oil rigs. They use a lot of power and hand tools to do this dirty work. This is tough, physical work, and demand in the field is decreasing. The median pay is a mere $29,000 per year. There are not as many fatalities in this field as in iron working, but it is dangerous and workers tend to lose fingers and toes quite often.

8. Welder


Welding is thought by some people to be a possible field for folks who don’t go to college. You spend your days welding metal joints together by melting the steel. You will do this behind a mask and a visor to protect you from getting hurt. Still, welders do suffer a high number of injuries each year. Welding also depends a  lot on the health of the American economy. These jobs also tend to go away in bad economic times. Right now, there is not as much construction in the US due to the poor economy, so you may have trouble finding a job in this field. And, the top 10% of workers earn a mere $22 an hour. You can find easier work for that money.

7. Garbage Collector


This probably is not a surprise to be on this list. Working with trash is never fun, and the pay really sucks: just $14 per hour. You probably don’t know this, but garbage collecting actually is quite dangerous, and about 42 per 100,000 workers die each year. Also, many workers suffer back injuries, and many do not last very long in this career. Another issue with garbage collecting today is that more of this work is being automated; many cities now use trucks with those big clamps on the side of the vehicle that grab the can automatically. Many trucks now just have a single driver and no actual workers.

6. Roofing


If you ever see a bunch of roofers at a coffee shop or at a hardware store, note how they look. Dirty, tired, unhappy, and sometimes missing fingers. Most of them also limp if they have been doing this for long; it’s tough on the knees. Roofing overall is tough on the body. It is hot, very strenuous, dirty, and people drop out of the field like flies. A median hourly wage of just $15.50 makes this a sucky job that you do not want for long.

5. Emergency Medical Technician


You might not think this is a bad job, and it is a good way to get into the health, medical and law enforcement fields. But keep in mind that this is a 24/7 job, and your hours are going to vary wildly. This makes having a decent home life tough. The median pay also is quite poor: just $27,000.

4. Seaman


This is a rather broad category of US worker, and it includes both fishermen and boat workers. Whatever you do as a seaman, we can assure you that it will be cramped, unpleasant, dirty and in bad weather. If you are prone to sea sickness, find another job. Also, note that fishermen have by far the most deadly job in the US: 142 fatalities per 100,000. That is sky high! And then, there is the pay – a crappy $34,000 per year.

3. Taxi Driver


You might believe that driving in a car all day gives you freedom and a flexible schedule, no annoying boss hanging on your shoulder….don’t be fooled. This job stinks. You work very long hours for very little money. The Bureau of Labor Statistics says about 229,000 in the US are unfortunate enough to hold this job, but the median wage is a terrible $10.60.

2. Dairy Farmer


Don’t romanticize dairy farming. It sucks. Bringing up cattle to produce milk involves a lot of backbreaking labor, very long hours and bad working environments. Some government studies have found that most low end workers in this field are lucky to net $15,000 a year! Seriously? For work this hard? Working a cash register never sounded so good!

1. Lumberjack


It’s true. Being a lumberjack is the worst job in America, at least if you believe This is definitely one of those jobs that is much much worse than it sounds.

You will be outside all the time, in heat, cold, snow and rain. You will be in remote areas with nothing whatsoever to do when you have a few hours off. It is very dangerous; the fatality rate is 82 per 100,000. The work is very difficult, injuries are constant, and the pay is terrible. Many lumberjacks start out at minimum wage. The median wage is a mere $13 per hour. There are much easier jobs in the US than this for the same or better money.




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