Special Report

Jobs With the Best (and Worst) Job Security

20. Cooks
> Unemployment rate:
9.7%
> Labor force: 2,315,000
> Industry: Food preparation and service
> Median annual wage: $21,120

Roughly 224,000 cooks in the United States are unemployed, more people than in all but two other occupations. The unemployment rate is also very high at nearly 10% of all cooks looking for work, a considerably higher unemployment rate than the 4.7% national figure. Employment figures may not improve in the near future as the number of available jobs is projected to grow by only 4% through 2024, a relatively slow rate. For those who are employed as cooks, pay is relatively low. The typical cook makes only about $21,000 annually.

19. Cashiers
> Unemployment rate:
9.8%
> Labor force: 3,599,000
> Industry: Sales
> Median annual wage: $19,070

More than 3.2 million people work as cashiers in the private sector, making it the third largest occupation outside of the public sector. Unemployment in the profession, however, is also high with roughly 353,000 unemployed people who last worked as cashiers and are now jobless, more than any other line of work in the country. As is the case in many occupations with high unemployment rates, cashiers are low skilled and low paid workers. There is no formal education required for an entry level position, and the typical cashier makes only $19,070 a year.

18. Cleaners of vehicles and equipment
> Unemployment rate:
9.8%
> Labor force: 375,000
> Industry: Transportation and material moving
> Median annual wage: $20,670

More than a 330,000 Americans are employed as cleaners of vehicles and equipment, including personal and commercial vehicles. An additional 37,000 such workers are now unemployed. Like the vast majority of jobs with high unemployment rates, these are relatively low-skill, low-pay jobs. Barely half of all jobs in this field require a high school diploma, and the median annual wage is $20,670, or less than 60% of the national median wage.

17. Hand laborers and freight, stock, and material movers
> Unemployment rate:
9.8%
> Labor force: 2,116,000
> Industry: Transportation and material moving
> Median annual wage: $24,430

Jobs that require less formal education often have less job security. No educational background is needed to become a hand laborer, which may partially explain the occupation’s 9.8% unemployment rate. Hand laborers and freight, stock, and material movers typically work in warehouses, loading and unloading cargo and ensuring proper delivery. Unskilled labor also tends to pay less, and the occupation’s $24,430 median annual wage is one of the lowest in the country.

16. Models, demonstrators, and product promoters
> Unemployment rate:
10.1%
> Labor force: 76,000
> Industry: Sales
> Median annual wage: $24,460

Though higher education is not a requirement for models, demonstrators, and product promoters, qualifications include communication skills, likability, and often a pleasant appearance. Jobs in the field typically involve attracting potential customers to a product or service. Incomes for workers in the field tend to be low, while the unemployment rate is one of the highest in the country. The typical model, demonstrator or product promoter makes only $24,460 annually, and roughly 10% of workers in the field are out of a job.