Special Report

The Worst Jobs in America

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5. Enlisted military personnel
> Median annual wage: N/A
> Total employment: N/A
> Projected employment change 2018-2028: N/A

Enlisted military personnel face one of the most challenging working environments of any job. Enlisted personnel make up over 80% of America’s armed forces, the rest being officers. Enlisted personnel perform military operations like combat, equipment repair, providing humanitarian relief, and much more.

The job can be dangerous, particularly for those in combat. It is also challenging because deployed personnel spend months away from their families. Military pay changes based on the rank of the service member. Those at the lowest rank earn less than $1,700 per month — roughly $20,000 per year.

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4. Retail salesperson
> Median annual wage: $24,200
> Total employment: 4,448,120
> Projected employment change 2018-2028: -2.3%

Workers in retail sales, like those in other career fields that do not typically have educational requirements, are not well compensated. The median wage for retail sales workers is less than $24,500 per year. Retail sales workers typically have to work nights and weekends, often dealing with demanding customers. The number of people in this job is expected to decline over the next decade as online retailers replace the brick-and-mortar businesses that employ these workers.

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3. Newspaper reporter
> Median annual wage: $41,260
> Total employment: 37,140
> Projected employment change 2018-2028: -12.1%

The median annual wage for newspaper reporters is $41,260, higher than the median wage among all jobs. However, over 86% of reporters hold at least a bachelor’s degree, and compared to college-educated workers in other jobs, reporters earn far less. Most jobs considered for this list that typically require at least a bachelor’s degree have a median annual wage over $70,000. As newspapers face economic challenges, reporters are projected to become much less common. The BLS projects the total number of newspaper reporters will decline by more than 12% by 2028 compared to 2018.

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2. Logging worker
> Median annual wage: $40,650
> Total employment: 37,400
> Projected employment change 2018-2028: -13.9%

Logging worker ranks as the most dangerous job in America. The occupation had a U.S.-high 97.6 fatal accidents per 100,000 full-time workers in 2018. Much of the equipment used by logging workers has either been improved or automated in recent years. As a result, the total number of logging workers is projected to decline by 13.9% over the next decade, making it one of the fastest disappearing jobs in America.

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1. Taxi driver
> Median annual wage: $25,980
> Total employment: 207,920
> Projected employment change 2018-2028: +19.5%

Because of the low pay, challenging hours, and stressful work environment, taxi driving ranks as the worst job in America. Most taxi drivers earn less than $26,000 per year — over $12,000 short of the median wage for all Americans jobs. Taxi drivers often work long shifts, and on nights and weekends. It is considered a stressful job, as drivers must contend with traffic and potentially unruly riders. As more and more people turn to ride sharing services like Uber and Lyft, there will be increased competition for riders, potentially hurting earnings even more.