Jobs

This Is the Career With the Worst Job Security

Unemployment in America stood at 3.6% in May, near an all-time low, and a tremendous improvement since the unemployment spike during the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite a high number of job openings, a huge base of people who can shop for jobs has not filled them. Wages are increasing as employers try to incentivize people to join their companies.

Job security should be at an all-time high, and perhaps it is. However, some industries are exceptions. Using data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed unemployment rates by occupation to identify the job with the worst job security. To be counted among a certain occupation, an unemployed individual needed to have held that specific job immediately prior to being unemployed. Among the jobs we considered, unemployment rates range from 9% to 33%.

Many jobs we considered are in the travel, hospitality and entertainment industries that were hit hard by closures early in the pandemic. These jobs include flight attendants, hosts, house cleaners and bartenders. Travel restrictions and business closures during the pandemic led to the loss of nearly 4 million hospitality jobs in 2020, according to American Hotel and Lodging Association, an industry advocacy group.

Other potential explanations for the high unemployment levels among the jobs we considered include decreasing demand for workers due to increasing automation. Some high-unemployment occupations, such as cashiers and legal secretaries and administrative assistants, will be in far lower demand as technological advances continue to reduce the need for personnel.

It is important to note that in many occupations, high unemployment is partially attributable to workers willingly walking away. In a trend now known as the Great Resignation, Americans are quitting at near-record rates, often citing low pay and little room for advancement as reasons. Indeed, many of the jobs we considered are entry-level positions that are typically low-paying, including wait staff and dishwashers.

The job with the worst job security is acting. Here are the details:

  • Unemployment rate: 33.0%
  • Labor force: 67,000
  • Median annual wage: N/A
  • Projected employment change 2020 to 2030: +32.4%
  • Typical entry-level education requirement: Some college, no degree

Methodology: To determine the job with the worst security, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed unpublished data on the unemployment rate for over 500 detailed occupations from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Current Population Survey. Detailed occupations were ranked based on the percentage of the labor force that was unemployed as of 2021. Unemployed members of an occupational labor force need to have been last employed in this occupation prior to unemployment. Only occupations whose labor forces were 50,000 or greater were considered. Broad occupation titles classified as “all other” were excluded from consideration.

Supplemental data on median annual wage came from the BLS Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics and are for 2020. Data on projected employment change from 2020 to 2030 and the typical education requirement for entry-level positions within the profession came from the BLS Employment Projections program.


Click here to see all the careers with the worst job security.

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