Special Report

The Easiest (and Hardest) Jobs to Keep

The Hardest Jobs to Keep

10. Tax preparers
> Unemployment rate, 2014: 13.5%
> Median annual pay, 2012: $33,730
> Employment change, 2012-2022: 9.9%

With few things considered more certain than taxes, the high unemployment rate of 13.5% among tax preparers last year may be surprising to some. This was the 10th highest figure among all occupations. The high unemployment could be due to the seasonal nature of tax filings, as Americans’ individual tax returns are usually completed in April. While tax preparers may work in a variety of fields, the vast majority are employed in bookkeeping, tax preparation, accounting, and payroll services. As in most professions with high unemployment rates, tax preparers are not paid especially well. The median income was less than $34,000 in 2012, one of the lower incomes reviewed. Yet, employment is expected to grow nearly 10% by 2022, slightly better than the average growth rate for all occupations.

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9. Hand packers and packagers
> Unemployment rate, 2014: 13.8%
> Median annual pay, 2012: $19,910
> Employment change, 2012-2022: 6.0%

Nearly 14% of packers and packagers, such as baggers at grocery stores and movers or hand laborers, were unemployed in 2014. Like other professions with high unemployment rates, packers and packagers receive relatively low pay and the job does not require a great deal of education. The median pay of such workers was less than $20,000 in 2012, among the lowest reviewed. According to the BLS, less than a high school diploma was necessary to enter the profession. A portion of workers were likely quite young and perhaps still in high school. However, the BLS excludes part-time and inexperienced workers in its unemployment figure. The high turnover rate among these laborers was likely the largest contributor to the profession’s high unemployment figure.

8. Dishwashers
> Unemployment rate, 2014: 14.0%
> Median annual pay, 2012: $18,460
> Employment change, 2012-2022: 6.2%

Dishwashers can be found at virtually any place where food is served, and they typically receive among the lowest compensation of any profession. The median annual income of dishwashers was just $18,460 in 2012. As in other professions, particularly those involving manual labor, there are no special requirements to become a dishwasher. Because of these few qualifications, becoming a dishwasher is relatively easy. The turnover rate, however, is extremely high.