Jobs With the Best and Worst Job Security

March 4, 2019 by Sam Stebbins

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According to a recent Gallup poll, 18% of American workers are worried about losing their job — down from a peak of 31% in 2009 in the wake of the Great Recession. American workers have good reason to feel secure. The economy has added jobs for the last 100 consecutive months, and the unemployment rate recently hit its lowest point since the 1960s.

Still, while the jobs picture in the United States is encouraging on a broad scale, on a more granular level, certain jobs are inherently less secure than others.

24/7 Wall St. reviewed unemployment rates by occupation from the Bureau of Labor Statistics to identify the occupations with the best and worst job security. The 32 jobs with the highest job security have unemployment rates below 1.0%, while the 32 jobs with the lowest job security have unemployment rates of at least 6.6%.

The jobs with the lowest job security tend to require little education. Many of these jobs are also projected to become less common in the future as automation will reduce hiring demand.

Meanwhile, the most secure jobs typically require at least some college, and often a doctoral or professional degree. Additionally, partially because the government never goes out of business, these jobs are far more likely to be in the public sector, either at the local, state, or federal level.

Jobs With the Best Job Security

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32. Civil engineers
> Unemployment rate: 0.9% (tied – 24th lowest)
> Labor force: 460,000
> Median annual wage: $84,770
> Proj. job growth 2016-2026: +10.6%
> Typical entry level edu. required: Bachelor’s degree

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31. Dentists
> Unemployment rate: 0.9% (tied – 24th lowest)
> Labor force: 163,000
> Median annual wage: $158,120
> Proj. job growth 2016-2026: +19.1%
> Typical entry level edu. required: Doctoral or professional degree

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30. Farmers, ranchers, and other agricultural managers
> Unemployment rate: 0.9% (tied – 24th lowest)
> Labor force: 1.0 million
> Median annual wage: $69,620
> Proj. job growth 2016-2026: -0.8%
> Typical entry level edu. required: High school diploma or equivalent

Source: yacobchuk / iStock

29. First-line supervisors of housekeeping and janitorial workers
> Unemployment rate: 0.9% (tied – 24th lowest)
> Labor force: 342,000
> Median annual wage: $39,230
> Proj. job growth 2016-2026: +9.9%
> Typical entry level edu. required: High school diploma or equivalent

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28. First-line supervisors of personal service workers
> Unemployment rate: 0.9% (tied – 24th lowest)
> Labor force: 210,000
> Median annual wage: $37,450
> Proj. job growth 2016-2026: +14.6%
> Typical entry level edu. required: High school diploma or equivalent

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27. Insurance underwriters
> Unemployment rate: 0.9% (tied – 24th lowest)
> Labor force: 120,000
> Median annual wage: $69,760
> Proj. job growth 2016-2026: -5.2%
> Typical entry level edu. required: Bachelor’s degree

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26. Lawyers
> Unemployment rate: 0.9% (tied – 24th lowest)
> Labor force: 1.2 million
> Median annual wage: $119,250
> Proj. job growth 2016-2026: +8.2%
> Typical entry level edu. required: Doctoral or professional degree

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25. Medical and health services managers
> Unemployment rate: 0.9% (tied – 24th lowest)
> Labor force: 645,000
> Median annual wage: $98,350
> Proj. job growth 2016-2026: +20.5%
> Typical entry level edu. required: Bachelor’s degree

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24. Personal financial advisors
> Unemployment rate: 0.9% (tied – 24th lowest)
> Labor force: 542,000
> Median annual wage: $90,640
> Proj. job growth 2016-2026: +14.9%
> Typical entry level edu. required: Bachelor’s degree

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23. Directors, religious activities and education
> Unemployment rate: 0.8% (tied – 20th lowest)
> Labor force: 77,000
> Median annual wage: $38,980
> Proj. job growth 2016-2026: +7.1%
> Typical entry level edu. required: Bachelor’s degree

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22. Financial analysts
> Unemployment rate: 0.8% (tied – 20th lowest)
> Labor force: 309,000
> Median annual wage: $84,300
> Proj. job growth 2016-2026: +10.9%
> Typical entry level edu. required: Bachelor’s degree

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21. Reservation and transportation ticket agents and travel clerks
> Unemployment rate: 0.8% (tied – 20th lowest)
> Labor force: 129,000
> Median annual wage: $36,280
> Proj. job growth 2016-2026: +3.8%
> Typical entry level edu. required: High school diploma or equivalent

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20. Speech-language pathologists
> Unemployment rate: 0.8% (tied – 20th lowest)
> Labor force: 153,000
> Median annual wage: $76,610
> Proj. job growth 2016-2026: +17.8%
> Typical entry level edu. required: Master’s degree

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19. Aircraft mechanics and service technicians
> Unemployment rate: 0.7% (tied – 16th lowest)
> Labor force: 165,000
> Median annual wage: $61,020
> Proj. job growth 2016-2026: +4.9%
> Typical entry level edu. required: Postsecondary nondegree award

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18. Aircraft pilots and flight engineers
> Unemployment rate: 0.7% (tied – 16th lowest)
> Labor force: 120,000
> Median annual wage: $137,330
> Proj. job growth 2016-2026: N/A
> Typical entry level edu. required: N/A

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17. Budget analysts
> Unemployment rate: 0.7% (tied – 16th lowest)
> Labor force: 51,000
> Median annual wage: $75,240
> Proj. job growth 2016-2026: +6.5%
> Typical entry level edu. required: Bachelor’s degree

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16. Police and sheriff’s patrol officers
> Unemployment rate: 0.7% (tied – 16th lowest)
> Labor force: 733,000
> Median annual wage: $61,050
> Proj. job growth 2016-2026: +7.0%
> Typical entry level edu. required: High school diploma or equivalent

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15. Dental hygienists
> Unemployment rate: 0.6% (tied – 14th lowest)
> Labor force: 179,000
> Median annual wage: $74,070
> Proj. job growth 2016-2026: +19.7%
> Typical entry level edu. required: Associate’s degree

14. Probation officers and correctional treatment specialists
> Unemployment rate: 0.6% (tied – 14th lowest)
> Labor force: 105,000
> Median annual wage: $51,410
> Proj. job growth 2016-2026: +5.7%
> Typical entry level edu. required: Bachelor’s degree

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13. Database administrators
> Unemployment rate: 0.5% (tied – 9th lowest)
> Labor force: 109,000
> Median annual wage: $87,020
> Proj. job growth 2016-2026: +11.5%
> Typical entry level edu. required: Bachelor’s degree

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12. Opticians, dispensing
> Unemployment rate: 0.5% (tied – 9th lowest)
> Labor force: 61,000
> Median annual wage: $36,250
> Proj. job growth 2016-2026: +15.0%
> Typical entry level edu. required: High school diploma or equivalent

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11. Postal service clerks
> Unemployment rate: 0.5% (tied – 9th lowest)
> Labor force: 121,000
> Median annual wage: $58,550
> Proj. job growth 2016-2026: -12.1%
> Typical entry level edu. required: High school diploma or equivalent

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10. Precision instrument and equipment repairers
> Unemployment rate: 0.5% (tied – 9th lowest)
> Labor force: 65,000
> Median annual wage: $56,940
> Proj. job growth 2016-2026: N/A
> Typical entry level edu. required: N/A

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9. Psychologists
> Unemployment rate: 0.5% (tied – 9th lowest)
> Labor force: 225,000
> Median annual wage: $77,030
> Proj. job growth 2016-2026: +13.8%
> Typical entry level edu. required: Doctoral or professional degree

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8. Physicians and surgeons
> Unemployment rate: 0.4% (tied – 7th lowest)
> Labor force: 1.1 million
> Median annual wage: > $208,000
> Proj. job growth 2016-2026: +12.8%
> Typical entry level edu. required: Doctoral or professional degree

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7. Veterinarians
> Unemployment rate: 0.4% (tied – 7th lowest)
> Labor force: 102,000
> Median annual wage: $90,420
> Proj. job growth 2016-2026: +18.8%
> Typical entry level edu. required: Doctoral or professional degree

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6. Aerospace engineers
> Unemployment rate: 0.3% (6th lowest)
> Labor force: 147,000
> Median annual wage: $113,030
> Proj. job growth 2016-2026: +6.1%
> Typical entry level edu. required: Bachelor’s degree

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5. Computer network architects
> Unemployment rate: 0.1% (tied – 2nd lowest)
> Labor force: 114,000
> Median annual wage: $104,650
> Proj. job growth 2016-2026: +6.5%
> Typical entry level edu. required: Bachelor’s degree

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4. Court, municipal, and license clerks
> Unemployment rate: 0.1% (tied – 2nd lowest)
> Labor force: 83,000
> Median annual wage: $37,300
> Proj. job growth 2016-2026: +6.5%
> Typical entry level edu. required: High school diploma or equivalent

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3. Optometrists
> Unemployment rate: 0.1% (tied – 2nd lowest)
> Labor force: 54,000
> Median annual wage: $110,300
> Proj. job growth 2016-2026: +17.9%
> Typical entry level edu. required: Doctoral or professional degree

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2. Veterinary assistants and laboratory animal caretakers
> Unemployment rate: 0.1% (tied – 2nd lowest)
> Labor force: 56,000
> Median annual wage: $26,140
> Proj. job growth 2016-2026: +19.4%
> Typical entry level edu. required: High school diploma or equivalent

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1. Appraisers and assessors of real estate
> Unemployment rate: <0.1% (the lowest)
> Labor force: 84,000
> Median annual wage: $54,010
> Proj. job growth 2016-2026: +14.4%
> Typical entry level edu. required: Bachelor’s degree

Jobs with the Worst Job Security

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32. Cleaners of vehicles and equipment
> Unemployment rate: 6.6% (tied – 32nd highest)
> Labor force: 352,000
> Median annual wage: $23,360
> Proj. job growth 2016-2026: +10.7%
> Typical entry level edu. required: No formal educational credential

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31. Cooks
> Unemployment rate: 6.6% (tied – 32nd highest)
> Labor force: 2.2 million
> Median annual wage: $23,970
> Proj. job growth 2016-2026: +6.1%
> Typical entry level edu. required: No formal educational credential

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30. Dining room and cafeteria attendants and bartender helpers
> Unemployment rate: 6.7% (tied – 30th highest)
> Labor force: 331,000
> Median annual wage: $21,160
> Proj. job growth 2016-2026: +7.1%
> Typical entry level edu. required: No formal educational credential

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29. Hotel, motel, and resort desk clerks
> Unemployment rate: 6.7% (tied – 30th highest)
> Labor force: 140,000
> Median annual wage: $22,850
> Proj. job growth 2016-2026: +4.4%
> Typical entry level edu. required: High school diploma or equivalent

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28. Models, demonstrators, and product promoters
> Unemployment rate: 6.8% (tied – 28th highest)
> Labor force: 64,000
> Median annual wage: $27,060
> Proj. job growth 2016-2026: N/A
> Typical entry level edu. required: High school diploma or equivalent

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27. Painters, construction and maintenance
> Unemployment rate: 6.9% (27th highest)
> Labor force: 652,000
> Median annual wage: $37,960
> Proj. job growth 2016-2026: +5.7%
> Typical entry level edu. required: No formal educational credential

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26. Bill and account collectors
> Unemployment rate: 7.0% (tied – 23rd highest)
> Labor force: 131,000
> Median annual wage: $35,330
> Proj. job growth 2016-2026: -3.0%
> Typical entry level edu. required: High school diploma or equivalent

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25. Cement masons, concrete finishers, and terrazzo workers
> Unemployment rate: 7.0% (tied – 23rd highest)
> Labor force: 54,000
> Median annual wage: $42,900
> Proj. job growth 2016-2026: +12.6%
> Typical entry level edu. required: High school diploma or equivalent

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24. Mail clerks and mail machine operators, except postal service
> Unemployment rate: 7.0% (tied – 23rd highest)
> Labor force: 68,000
> Median annual wage: $29,620
> Proj. job growth 2016-2026: -7.4%
> Typical entry level edu. required: High school diploma or equivalent

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23. Operating engineers and other construction equipment operators
> Unemployment rate: 7.0% (tied – 23rd highest)
> Labor force: 368,000
> Median annual wage: $47,040
> Proj. job growth 2016-2026: +12.3%
> Typical entry level edu. required: High school diploma or equivalent

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22. Combined food preparation and serving workers, including fast food
> Unemployment rate: 7.2% (22nd highest)
> Labor force: 347,000
> Median annual wage: $20,180
> Proj. job growth 2016-2026: +16.8%
> Typical entry level edu. required: No formal educational credential

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21. Grounds maintenance workers
> Unemployment rate: 7.5% (21st highest)
> Labor force: 1.4 million
> Median annual wage: $28,110
> Proj. job growth 2016-2026: +11.2%
> Typical entry level edu. required: No formal educational credential

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20. Cashiers
> Unemployment rate: 7.6% (20th highest)
> Labor force: 3.5 million
> Median annual wage: $21,030
> Proj. job growth 2016-2026: -0.9%
> Typical entry level edu. required: No formal educational credential

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19. Laborers and freight, stock, and material movers, hand
> Unemployment rate: 7.7% (tied – 17th highest)
> Labor force: 2.3 million
> Median annual wage: $27,040
> Proj. job growth 2016-2026: +7.6%
> Typical entry level edu. required: No formal educational credential

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18. Structural iron and steel workers
> Unemployment rate: 7.7% (tied – 17th highest)
> Labor force: 65,000
> Median annual wage: $52,610
> Proj. job growth 2016-2026: +12.8%
> Typical entry level edu. required: High school diploma or equivalent

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17. Word processors and typists
> Unemployment rate: 7.7% (tied – 17th highest)
> Labor force: 73,000
> Median annual wage: $39,740
> Proj. job growth 2016-2026: -33.1%
> Typical entry level edu. required: High school diploma or equivalent

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16. Tax preparers
> Unemployment rate: 7.8% (16th highest)
> Labor force: 123,000
> Median annual wage: $38,730
> Proj. job growth 2016-2026: +10.8%
> Typical entry level edu. required: High school diploma or equivalent

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15. Lifeguards and other recreational, and all other protective service workers
> Unemployment rate: 8.0% (tied – 13th highest)
> Labor force: 127,000
> Median annual wage: $21,290
> Proj. job growth 2016-2026: N/A
> Typical entry level edu. required: No formal educational credential

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14. Miscellaneous entertainment attendants and related workers
> Unemployment rate: 8.0% (tied – 13th highest)
> Labor force: 228,000
> Median annual wage: $24,200
> Proj. job growth 2016-2026: N/A
> Typical entry level edu. required: N/A

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13. Packaging and filling machine operators and tenders
> Unemployment rate: 8.0% (tied – 13th highest)
> Labor force: 301,000
> Median annual wage: $29,350
> Proj. job growth 2016-2026: +1.7%
> Typical entry level edu. required: High school diploma or equivalent

Source: Drazen_ / Getty Images

12. Construction laborers
> Unemployment rate: 8.3% (12th highest)
> Labor force: 2.3 million
> Median annual wage: $34,530
> Proj. job growth 2016-2026: +12.4%
> Typical entry level edu. required: No formal educational credential

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11. Weighers, measurers, checkers, and samplers, recordkeeping
> Unemployment rate: 8.4% (11th highest)
> Labor force: 61,000
> Median annual wage: $30,180
> Proj. job growth 2016-2026: +1.8%
> Typical entry level edu. required: High school diploma or equivalent

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10. Brickmasons, blockmasons, and stonemasons
> Unemployment rate: 8.8% (10th highest)
> Labor force: 157,000
> Median annual wage: $42,900
> Proj. job growth 2016-2026: +10.1%
> Typical entry level edu. required: High school diploma or equivalent

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9. Tour and travel guides
> Unemployment rate: 8.9% (9th highest)
> Labor force: 71,000
> Median annual wage: $25,770
> Proj. job growth 2016-2026: N/A
> Typical entry level edu. required: N/A

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8. Farming, fishing, and forestry occupations
> Unemployment rate: 9.2% (8th highest)
> Labor force: 1.2 million
> Median annual wage: $24,390
> Proj. job growth 2016-2026: +0.0%
> Typical entry level edu. required: No formal educational credential

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7. Counter attendants, cafeteria, food concession, and coffee shop
> Unemployment rate: 9.4% (7th highest)
> Labor force: 223,000
> Median annual wage: $21,280
> Proj. job growth 2016-2026: +4.6%
> Typical entry level edu. required: No formal educational credential

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6. Miscellaneous agricultural workers
> Unemployment rate: 9.6% (6th highest)
> Labor force: 922,000
> Median annual wage: $30,600
> Proj. job growth 2016-2026: N/A
> Typical entry level edu. required: No formal educational credential

Source: sturti / Getty Images

5. Packers and packagers, hand
> Unemployment rate: 9.7% (5th highest)
> Labor force: 672,000
> Median annual wage: $23,430
> Proj. job growth 2016-2026: +1.8%
> Typical entry level edu. required: No formal educational credential

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4. Telemarketers
> Unemployment rate: 10.5% (4th highest)
> Labor force: 65,000
> Median annual wage: $24,460
> Proj. job growth 2016-2026: +0.0%
> Typical entry level edu. required: No formal educational credential

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3. Graders and sorters, agricultural products
> Unemployment rate: 11.5% (3rd highest)
> Labor force: 96,000
> Median annual wage: $23,340
> Proj. job growth 2016-2026: -0.9%
> Typical entry level edu. required: No formal educational credential

Source: Jens_Lambert_Photography / Getty Images

2. Roofers
> Unemployment rate: 12.2% (2nd highest)
> Labor force: 229,000
> Median annual wage: $38,970
> Proj. job growth 2016-2026: +11.1%
> Typical entry level edu. required: No formal educational credential

Source: Juanmonino / Getty Images

1. Dishwashers
> Unemployment rate: 13.9% (the highest)
> Labor force: 306,000
> Median annual wage: $21,500
> Proj. job growth 2016-2026: +4.3%
> Typical entry level edu. required: No formal educational credential

Methodology

To identify the 33 jobs with the best job security and the 33 jobs with the worst job security, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed 2017 unemployment rates for 360 occupations from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. We only considered occupations with a labor force of 50,000 or more. Unemployed members of an occupational labor force need to have been last employed in this occupation prior to unemployment. Employment projections from 2016 through 2026 came from the Occupational Outlook Handbook, published annually by the BLS. Typical entry-level education requirement and median annual wage also came from the BLS. Annual wages exclude those of part-time workers in a given profession. Occupations that represent the remainder of a broader classification, defined by the BLS as “all other,” were excluded from our analysis. Data on median annual wage, 10 year projected job growth, and typical educational attainment required was not always available from the BLS for the exact job listed. We used the data for the closest matching occupational categories in some of those cases when possible.