Special Report

Jobs With the Best (and Worst) Job Security

The Jobs with the Highest Unemployment Rates

25. Dishwashers
> Unemployment rate:
> Labor force: 309,000
> Industry: Food preparation and service
> Median annual wage: $18,780

The low pay and physically demanding work involved in dishwashing likely contributes to the job’s high turnover rate, which in turn likely drives up the number of jobless Americans who previously worked as dishwashers. The typical dishwasher is paid $18,780 annually, one of the lowest wages of any job available in the United States. Dishwashers, as well as cooks, chefs, and janitors, are also not permitted by law to receive a share of tips.

24. Food preparation workers
> Unemployment rate:
> Labor force: 943,000
> Industry: Food preparation and service
> Median annual wage: $19,560

Typically employed in hotels and restaurants, food preparation workers are responsible for support tasks in the kitchen, such as peeling vegetables or slicing meat. There are more than 940,000 food preparation workers in the U.S., and 9% of them are out of work. Like many occupations with high unemployment rates, there is no formal education requirement for food preparation workers, and most necessary skills are learned on the job. Also similar to most other occupations with high unemployment rates, wages are relatively low in the field. The typical food prep worker makes less than $20,000 a year.

23. Sewing machine operators
> Unemployment rate:
> Labor force: 216,000
> Industry: Production
> Median annual wage: $21,920

Likely due in large part to outsourcing of manufacturing and production jobs, unemployment is high among sewing machine operators. More than 9% of workers in the field are out of a job. Employment in the field is not likely to improve anytime soon. The number of jobs available for sewing machine operators is projected to decrease by 27% over the next decade. Like many occupations with high unemployment, no formal education is required for sewing machine operators, and annual salaries are relatively low.

22. Door-to-door sales workers and news and street vendors
> Unemployment rate:
> Labor force: 172,000
> Industry: Sales
> Median annual wage: $21,530

While street vendors still have a market in major cities across the United States, door-to-door sales workers and related jobs are relatively antiquated. Unemployment among both door-to-door sales workers and street vendors is relatively high. Roughly 9.2% of workers in the field are unemployed compared a total unemployment rate of about 4.7% across the U.S.

21. Brickmasons, blockmasons, and stonemasons
> Unemployment rate:
> Labor force: 190,000
> Industry: Construction and extraction
> Median annual wage: $46,060

Higher education requirements tend to correspond with greater job security, and vice versa. To become a masonry worker, one does not usually need much more than a high school diploma. Nevertheless, a typical mason can expect to make $46,060 a year, about $10,000 more than the median annual wage across all occupations. Masonry employment is heavily tied to the construction industry, which took a major hit in the Great Recession. Employment in the field is expected to grow by 15% over the next decade, however, as population growth and a rebounding housing market will increase construction demand.