Special Report

12 Occupations With the Worst Job Security

Every month, millions of Americans leave their jobs, either because they are laid off or because they quit. While most American workers likely seek stable, long-term employment, millions of U.S. jobs are relatively unstable.

Many occupations have high turnover or are unstable either because the work is seasonal or temporary, the industry is downsizing, or the jobs are so undesirable that workers tend to quit. While the U.S. unemployment rate is 4.4%, the jobless rate is greater than 10% in 12 occupations.

A number of positions on this list require little to no formal education and have minimal additional on-the-job training. This includes jobs such as dishwashers, freight and stock laborers, hand packers, and cleaners. Fewer job requirements may mean employers consider these employees replaceable. Some workers who last held several of these low-skilled jobs may be unemployed because the work is strenuous.

Click here to see the 12 occupations with the worst job security.

These jobs also tend to pay very poorly, which is both evidence of the the low skill requirements, and also likely a reason workers leave these jobs. Of the 11 jobs on this list with available wage data, all earn less than the average annual U.S. wage of $48,320. Many of these occupations have average annual wages of less than $25,000.

While many of the most stable jobs — those with the lowest unemployment rates — tend to employ older Americans, the majority of the least stable jobs are entry-level positions, which often have high turnover as people are more likely to leave for better opportunities. The typical U.S. worker is 42.3 years old, but the median age in most of these occupations is much younger. The typical dishwasher, for example, is younger than 30 years old.

Several of these occupations are in struggling industries, which likely reduces demand for workers and exacerbates unemployment. While U.S. employment is projected to increase by 6.5% between 2014 and 2024, the majority of the jobs on this list with BLS projections will either lose workers in the next decade or grow at a slower rate.

The need for telemarketers, for example, is declining as workers are prohibited from calling cell phones, increasingly Americans’ only phone line. The number of telemarketers is projected to decline by 3% over the next decade.

To identify the hardest jobs to keep, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed 2016 unemployment rates among workers in 565 occupations provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Unemployed workers are classified by the most recent job they held before becoming unemployed. Occupations with an experienced labor force of less than 50,000 were not included. Estimated employment growth between 2014 and 2024, average 2015 wages, labor force totals, and typical education requirements for each job also came from the BLS.

These are the 12 occupations with the worst job security.