Special Report

America's Most Hated Industries

10. Advertising and Public Relations
> Pct. negative rating: 35%

Advertising and Public Relations ranks tenth in terms of negative overall perception out of 26 industries. The industry’s positive public perception had improved measurably since 2001, according to Gallup, increasing by about 23%. In spite of this improvement, it remains in the bottom 10. A recent study conducted by Harris Interactive found that 98% of people distrust the Internet, largely because of advertisements. According to the Harris poll, respondents reported feeling bombarded by too many advertisements, and that the Internet’s content tended to be self-promotional.

Also Read: American Cities Adding the Most Jobs

9. Movie Industry
> Pct. negative rating: 35%

In addition to Gallup’s score, the movie industry scores seventh worst out of 48 industries evaluated by the American Consumer Index. The reasons for the negative perception of the movie industry are less clear than for banking or the oil industry. The editor in chief of Gallup, Frank Newport, suggests that some people may disapprove of the content of R-rated movies, or may frown upon the frequently televised problems the actors themselves get into. The main reason may be the high cost of movie tickets, especially when there are alternatives to renting movies and going to the theater on the internet and television.

8. Television and Radio Industry
> Pct. negative rating: 36%

Public impression of the television and radio industry improved slightly this year, as the percentage of Americans regarding it negatively dropped from 40% to 36%. The Gallup poll found 37% of Americans approving of the industry, while 25% described their position as neutral. Since 2001, positive overall opinions of this industry declined by about 12%. Subscription television services, like cable and satellite, received a score of 66 from the ACSI, the third worst score after airlines and newspapers in 2011. Scores and ratings this bad could be a symptom of a general distrust in the media. A Gallup survey conducted in 2012 found that Americans’ confidence in television news is at a new low, with 21% of adults indicating little confidence in it. This is a small decline from last year and a significant decline from 1993, when Gallup first measured the issue and 46% of adults indicated confidence.

7. The Legal Field
> Pct. negative rating: 37%

It will surprise almost no one that the legal field made the list. For one reason or another, lawyers are perceived negatively by Americans. According to Newport, “lawyers are one of those things that people criticize until they need one.” The legal system is adversarial by definition, and lawyers work in the midst of emotional and expensive problems. It does not help matters that attorneys are regularly included among the highest-paid professions. With corporate lawyers billing at $1,000 per hour, expectations for the right outcome can be high. Nevertheless, the number of Americans who view the legal field negatively dropped slightly since last year. And since 2001, the percentage of negative rating has declined by about 18%, while Americans’ positive perception has increased by 17% over the same period.

6. Electric and Gas Utilities
> Pct. negative rating: 38%

The electric and gas utilities industry can’t seem to catch a break. Positive overall opinion dropped from 38% to 34% in the last year. Regarding municipal utilities in particular, ACSI ranks the industry poorly as well, with a score of 73, ranking seventh from the bottom. Utilities companies have a public history of energy shortages, brownouts, manipulating regulations to solidify monopolies, and a poor environmental record. More recently, rising energy costs could be generating dissatisfaction among the public. In ASCI’s most recent company ranking, Long Island Power and Northeast Utilities received the two lowest scores in the survey.

Sponsored: Find a Qualified Financial Advisor

Finding a qualified financial advisor doesn’t have to be hard. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with up to 3 fiduciary financial advisors in your area in 5 minutes. Each advisor has been vetted by SmartAsset and is held to a fiduciary standard to act in your best interests. If you’re ready to be matched with local advisors that can help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.