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The 10 Worst Jobs in America 2011

The 10 Worst Jobs in America 2011

What makes a job the worst? "To be at the bottom of the list, you really have to have a lot of things working against you," said Tony Lee, the publisher of CareerCast. , which put together the list of the and this list of the 10 worst jobs, used five main criteria: The work environment, physical demands, outlook, income and stress. There are two things that a lot of these jobs have in common; they’re dangerous or involve strenuous working conditions and they don’t pay very well, even though the
Dirk Anschutz | Stone | Getty Images

What makes a job the worst?

"To be at the bottom of the list, you really have to have a lot of things working against you," said Tony Lee, the publisher of CareerCast.

CareerCast, which put together the list of the 10 best jobsand this list of the 10 worst jobs, used five main criteria: The work environment, physical demands, outlook, income and stress.

There are two things that a lot of these jobs have in common; they’re dangerous or involve strenuous working conditions and they don’t pay very well, even though the usual rule of thumb is the more dangerous job, the bigger the paycheck.

Also, the entire bottom 10 list doesn’t require a college degree.

So what are the 10 worst jobs in America? Click ahead to find out!

By Cindy Perman
Posted 10 Jan 2011

10. Construction Worker

Average Salary: $29,211Key Factors: Work environment, stress, salary Construction workers have a tough work environment that’s physically demanding and for low pay. To top it off, demand for both commercial and residential construction slowed tremendously during the recession. In the latest jobs report from the Labor Department, another 16,000 construction jobs were lost in December.Demand is expected to improve, however, when the real-estate market recovers and old infrastructure is replaced. S
Getty Images

Average Salary: $29,211
Key Factors: Work environment, stress, salary

Construction workers have a tough work environment that’s physically demanding and for low pay.

To top it off, demand for both commercial and residential construction slowed tremendously during the recession. In the latest jobs report from the Labor Department, another 16,000 construction jobs were lost in December.

Demand is expected to improve, however, when the real-estate market recovers and old infrastructure is replaced. Still, the tough working conditions and low pay may keep it on the worst list.

9. Meter Reader

Average Salary: $34,171 Key Factors: Hiring outlook, physical demands Meter readers, the people who monitor public utility meters and record consumption by customers, are a dying breed as companies are increasingly automating this task. In fact, the hiring outlook ranked a negative 30. Not to mention, the working conditions are tough – if the building is 100 degrees, or it’s minus-10 outside, they’ve still go to do their job. They can’t put on a sweater or complain to management like their cubic
PNC | Brand X Pictures | Getty Images

Average Salary: $34,171
Key Factors: Hiring outlook, physical demands

Meter readers, the people who monitor public utility meters and record consumption by customers, are a dying breed as companies are increasingly automating this task. In fact, the hiring outlook ranked a negative 30.

Not to mention, the working conditions are tough – if the building is 100 degrees, or it’s minus-10 outside, they’ve still go to do their job. They can’t put on a sweater or complain to management like their cubicle-dwelling counterparts. Plus, given the outlook, if a meter reader loses his or her job now, it’s a lot tougher to find one.

“In another 10 or 20 years, this profession will probably be obsolete,” Lee said.

8. Painter

Average Salary: $34,152Key Factors: Hiring outlook, work environment Painters took it the hardest this year: The profession tumbled 32 notches on the list to the eighth worst job! The reason is simple: Construction activity fell off so much during the recession, whether it was new construction or renovations, that there wasn’t much demand for painters.Plus, the pay is low and the conditions are tough – be it the temperature, or holding your hands over your head all day while standing on a ladder
AP

Average Salary: $34,152
Key Factors: Hiring outlook, work environment

Painters took it the hardest this year: The profession tumbled 32 notches on the list to the eighth worst job! The reason is simple: Construction activity fell off so much during the recession, whether it was new construction or renovations, that there wasn’t much demand for painters.

Plus, the pay is low and the conditions are tough – be it the temperature, or holding your hands over your head all day while standing on a ladder and inhaling paint fumes.

Construction activity, and therefore painting, will eventually improve but the increased use of automation for painting will continue to dent demand.

7. Welder

Average Salary: $30,168 Key Factors: Hiring outlook, physical demands, salary Welders, the guys who repair metal surfaces using heat, typically work in factories and the job is very physically demanding, not to mention dangerous. They suffered a drop in demand during the recession and, like their painter counterparts, have to battle an additional factor – automation. The good news is that welders can shift from industry to industry pretty easily so there will still be some areas of strong demand
AP

Average Salary: $30,168
Key Factors: Hiring outlook, physical demands, salary

Welders, the guys who repair metal surfaces using heat, typically work in factories and the job is very physically demanding, not to mention dangerous.

They suffered a drop in demand during the recession and, like their painter counterparts, have to battle an additional factor – automation.

The good news is that welders can shift from industry to industry pretty easily so there will still be some areas of strong demand like the oil and gas industry. Underwater welders, for example, can make over $100 an hour!

6. Emergency Medical Technician

Average Salary: 30,168 Key Factors: Stress, salary EMTs, the first emergency personnel at the scene of an accident or injury, basically help save lives just like doctors, with the same stress as doctors, but without the big paycheck. Until the pay improves, this job will probably always be among the worst. This year, it fell nine spots, likely due to local government spending cuts. On the upside, EMTs have “considerably better hiring prospects” than other jobs on the list. There will always be a
AP

Average Salary: 30,168
Key Factors: Stress, salary

EMTs, the first emergency personnel at the scene of an accident or injury, basically help save lives just like doctors, with the same stress as doctors, but without the big paycheck.

Until the pay improves, this job will probably always be among the worst. This year, it fell nine spots, likely due to local government spending cuts.

On the upside, EMTs have “considerably better hiring prospects” than other jobs on the list. There will always be accidents and there will always be the need for first responders.

5. Taxi Driver

Average Salary: $21,127 Key Factors: work environment, stress The big factor here is that the risk level is very high for taxi drivers. The crime rate for taxi drivers is higher than any other profession, Lee said. Plus, they’re stuck in a car all day and contrary to popular belief, they don’t have more freedoms than the rest of us. If they work for a company, which most do, they are assigned a schedule, assigned pickups and have to report back to home base for everything, including bathroom bre
AP

Average Salary: $21,127
Key Factors: work environment, stress

The big factor here is that the risk level is very high for taxi drivers. The crime rate for taxi drivers is higher than any other profession, Lee said.

Plus, they’re stuck in a car all day and contrary to popular belief, they don’t have more freedoms than the rest of us. If they work for a company, which most do, they are assigned a schedule, assigned pickups and have to report back to home base for everything, including bathroom breaks.

“It’s not a particularly nice job,” Lee said.

4. Roofer

Average Salary: $34,168Key Factors: Hiring outlook, physical demands This job tumbled 18 notches on the list to the fourth worst job of all. Roofers work in tough conditions, balanced on sloping surfaces much of the day, in all kinds of weather. Plus, the pay isn’t that great. To top it off, the recession put a damper on all kinds of construction-related jobs, including roofers as everything from new construction to repairs got put on hold.
AP

Average Salary: $34,168
Key Factors: Hiring outlook, physical demands

This job tumbled 18 notches on the list to the fourth worst job of all.

Roofers work in tough conditions, balanced on sloping surfaces much of the day, in all kinds of weather. Plus, the pay isn’t that great.

To top it off, the recession put a damper on all kinds of construction-related jobs, including roofers as everything from new construction to repairs got put on hold.

3. Lumberjack

Average Salary: $32,109 Key Factors: Physical demands, hiring outlook This is a great job for those who like the great outdoors but it is incredibly physically demanding and dangerous. Lee said after lumberjack made the list last year, he heard from a lumberjack who said he loved his job but his list of injuries sounded like the curriculum for a med-school class: He’d lost two fingers, had a broken shoulder and a broken collarbone. To boot, it doesn’t pay well and the business is starting to bec
Aaron McCoy | Brand X Pictures | Getty Images

Average Salary: $32,109
Key Factors: Physical demands, hiring outlook

This is a great job for those who like the great outdoors but it is incredibly physically demanding and dangerous.

Lee said after lumberjack made the list last year, he heard from a lumberjack who said he loved his job but his list of injuries sounded like the curriculum for a med-school class: He’d lost two fingers, had a broken shoulder and a broken collarbone.

To boot, it doesn’t pay well and the business is starting to become more automated, clipping demand for actual lumberjacks.

2. Ironworker

Average Salary: $34,127 Key Factors: Hiring outlook, physical demands Ironworkers do much of their work up high in girders at the top of buildings or out on bridges, making it extremely dangerous and stressful work – with a low salary. On top of that, demand dropped during the recession as new construction and maintenance activity slowed. The good news is that as companies and governments ramp up infrastructure spending, the outlook for ironworkers will improve.
Jetta Productions | Iconica | Getty Images

Average Salary: $34,127
Key Factors: Hiring outlook, physical demands

Ironworkers do much of their work up high in girders at the top of buildings or out on bridges, making it extremely dangerous and stressful work – with a low salary.

On top of that, demand dropped during the recession as new construction and maintenance activity slowed.

The good news is that as companies and governments ramp up infrastructure spending, the outlook for ironworkers will improve.

1. Roustabout

Average Salary: $32,143 Key Factors: Work environment, salary, hiring outlook This is the second year roustabout has earned the distinction of the worst job in America. It’s interesting because roustabouts, who perform routine maintenance on oil rigs and pipelines, may be the only people in the oil and gas industry not sharing in its vast wealth. It’s a dangerous job as was evident by the BP oil spill last year, and it too has a low pay scale. Not to mention, workers are isolated from their fami
AP

Average Salary: $32,143
Key Factors: Work environment, salary, hiring outlook

This is the second year roustabout has earned the distinction of the worst job in America.

It’s interesting because roustabouts, who perform routine maintenance on oil rigs and pipelines, may be the only people in the oil and gas industry not sharing in its vast wealth.

It’s a dangerous job as was evident by the BP oil spill last year, and it too has a low pay scale. Not to mention, workers are isolated from their families. And now, thanks to the seven-year suspension on offshore drilling in the eastern part of the Gulf of Mexico and along the Atlantic coastlines, the hiring outlook is weak.