Special Report

The Worst Jobs in America

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20. Brickmason
> Median annual wages: $50,950
> Projected job growth, 2016-2026: +10.3%
> Total employment: 63,930

Brick masonry is a physically demanding job, as workers have to lift, move, and lay heavy materials — typically outdoors and often during the summer. These workers also face demands to complete projects on time and under budget, adding to the stress of the position. Brick masonry does have several upsides, including the relatively high median annual wage as compared to the median of all jobs and the fact that the growing U.S. population will likely lead to steady job growth in the industry.

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19. Automobile mechanic
> Median annual wages: $40,710
> Projected job growth, 2016-2026: +6.1%
> Total employment: 648,050

Though working as an automobile mechanic requires some postsecondary education, specifically at a trade school, as well as a certification, the median annual pay of mechanics is just slightly higher than that of the average American job. Mechanics often have a difficult job environment as they regularly get into awkward and uncomfortable positions for long stretches to diagnose and fix automotive problems.

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18. Buyer
> Median annual wages: $62,750
> Projected job growth, 2016-2026: -5.6%
> Total employment: 407,410

Though a buyer is a vague job title and buyers work in many different fields, they most commonly work on behalf of grocers and other wholesalers, buying produce for resale at stores. Though buyers are well compensated, earning a median annual wage of $62,750, the career field is projected to shrink and lose workers by 2026. According to the BLS, “outsourcing and automation of less complex procurement functions” will lead to a decline in this job’s outlook.

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17. Truck driver
> Median annual wages: $43,680
> Projected job growth, 2016-2026: +5.8%
> Total employment: 1,800,330

Though the projected job growth for truck drivers is only slightly lower than for the average American job, this career could be at risk of disappearing as companies like Tesla continue to develop autonomous driving technology. Driving a truck can be a difficult and stressful job. Drivers are responsible for vehicles that often weigh over 26,000 pounds and often lose sleep to meet strict delivery deadlines.

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16. Construction laborer
> Median annual wages: $35,800
> Projected job growth, 2016-2026: +12.4%
> Total employment: 1,001,470

Construction workers are employed in one of the fastest growing industries in the country. As the American population continues to grow, more and more laborers will be needed to build the growing demand for offices and homes. Workers in this unskilled position are not well compensated, typically earning less than the median of most jobs. Construction laborer is one of the most physically demanding jobs in America as well as one of the most dangerous — the job has one of the highest illness and injury rates among all occupations.

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