Special Report

The Worst Jobs in America

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20. Roofer
> Median annual wage: $39,970
> Total employment: 128,680
> Projected employment change 2018-2028: +11.8%

Roofers work in one of the most dangerous jobs in America. They repair and install roofs, sometimes many stories up, often without harnesses or safety equipment. There were 51.5 fatal injuries per 100,000 fill-time equivalent roofers in 2018, according to the BLS, one of the highest totals among all jobs. The job is also physically demanding, often done in hot weather. Most roofers earn less than $40,000 per year.

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19. Brickmason
> Median annual wage: $50,950
> Total employment: 63,930
> Projected employment change 2018-2028: +9.7%

Brickmasons have to lift heavy materials and perform difficult physical tasks during their job, making it a stressful and demanding work environment. Most brickmasons earn over $50,000 per year, well above the median annual wage for all occupations. Yet they can often lose work opportunities due to inclement weather.

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18. Construction laborer
> Median annual wage: $35,800
> Total employment: 1.0 million
> Projected employment change 2018-2028: +10.5%

There are over 1 million construction laborers in America, making it one of the most common jobs in America. The job is physically demanding, as the work can involve moving heavy equipment and materials, digging trenches, building braces, and much more, often outdoors.

The job is also one of the most dangerous in the country — there were 13 fatal injuries per 100,000 full-time equivalent construction laborers in 2018, one of the highest rates among any profession. Despite the demanding and potentially dangerous nature of the work, construction workers are not well paid. Most laborers earn less than $36,000 per year.

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17. Chef
> Median annual wage: $48,460
> Total employment: 128,600
> Projected employment change 2018-2028: +11.1%

Chefs have one of the most stressful work environments of any job in America. They are required to work on their feet, sometimes over flames, preparing food on a tight schedule in lengthy shifts. Though chefs tend to earn more than the typical American worker, with most making over $48,000 annually, the job usually requires a considerable amount of experience. Chefs typically either go to culinary school or work in lower-paying apprentice positions in kitchens or restaurants for years before becoming chefs.

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16. Pest control worker
> Median annual wage: $35,610
> Total employment: 77,300
> Projected employment change 2018-2028: +6.9%

Pest control workers are typically not well compensated. The career’s median annual wage of $35,610 is about $3,000 lower than the median wage for all jobs. This occupation often requires working on weekends and in the evening. The job of exterminating and removing pests like insects and rodents is also physically challenging, as pest control workers often have to crouch, kneel, and get in tight spaces to remove pests. Workers must also take care when using harsh chemical pesticides.