There are a variety of reasons a job can get slapped with the "worst job" title. It could be that it's an extremely dangerous or stressful job or, in the case of this year's No. 1 worst job, it could be that the job outlook is dismal.
So, while the economy and hiring outlook may be improving overall, for some of these jobs, it doesn't matter.
"Even with an improving economy, it doesn't make a different with the worst jobs," said Tony Lee, publisher of CareerCast.
CareerCast is out with their annual list of the 10 Best and of 2013. They took a look at 200 jobs and ranked them based on a variety of criteria, including income, outlook, environmental factors, stress and physical demands.
Interestingly, some of the jobs that made the "10 Worst" list last year but managed to skirt it this year were in the food-service industry — butcher, dishwasher and waiter/waitress. They are, of course, still tough jobs with low pay and little job security, but the economic recovery may have helped the restaurant industry start to come back as more people go out to eat or treat themselves to a steak at home. Indeed, the National Restaurant Association reported that the restaurant job growth hit a 17-year high in 2012.
"The restaurant industry bounced back quickly after the recession," the NRA said.
So, what are the worst jobs this year?
Click ahead for the 10 Worst Jobs for 2013, the midlevel income and whether the job moved up or down from last year's list.
By Cindy Perman
Posted 22 April 2013
Change From 2012: Down 16
Flight attendants have always had a dangerous and stressful job but what made the job fall so many notches down the list this year was a "very poor hiring outlook" due to all the restructuring in the industry, Lee said. With the American and US Air merger, for example, that meant jobs being eliminated.
"It's getting worse," Lee said. "Airlines have decided that if they used to maintain four flight attendants on a flight, now they're looking to cut it to three. That's a 25-percent decrease."
"And, if you're a flight attendant that's been let go – there's no job available for you elsewhere," Lee said.
Change From 2012: Down 15
"That has a lot to do with the decline in the housing market," Lee said.
You might think that with Hurricane Sandy and other home-damaging events last year that that might have offset some of the loss of work due to a weak housing market but Lee said repair is a small part of the roofing industry – the bulk of it is new construction.
And, it was always a dangerous job with low pay to begin with. Add in the tough outlook and that lands this job squarely on the worst list.
Change From 2012: Down 9
Of course mail carriers have always had a tough job, braving the elements — including desperate housewives and neighborhood dogs. But build into that the decline in mail volume due to email and texting plus the threat of canceling Saturday delivery and that drags it down the list with a negative hiring outlook.
Saturdays haven't officially been canceled but the threat of it was built into this year's calculation and, Lee said, "It's pretty clear that's down the road."
Right now in the industry, there are more jobs being eliminated than created, he added.
Change From 2012: No Change
Oh, meter readers — as if the dogs, bad weather and no trespassing signs weren't tough enough, with electronic meter-reading technology, this job is fast going the way of the dinosaurs. In fact, CareerCast reviews its list of 200 jobs every year, adding a few and removing a few depending on relevancy, and while meter readers made the cut this year, Lee said they have discussed taking it off the list altogether.
This job is "being replaced by the electronic meter reader and you don't need a person to show up and read your meter anymore," Lee said.
Change From 2012: Up 4
While there will always be demand for milk, this job makes the list primarily because of the danger of working with big animals like cows.
"The risk of injury is very high — they don't care if you're standing in their way when they step on you!" Lee said.
Plus, the hiring outlook has been tough — the industry is fast becoming a corporate business so "individual dairy farmers are have a much tougher time competing," Lee said.
Change From 2012: Up 1
The oil industry continues to make billions of dollars year after year but one of the few positions that doesn't join in the chorus of "We're in the Money" is the oil rig worker. These are guys (and perhaps a few ladies) who maintain the machinery and repair it. They're climbing to the top of rigs in any weather, be it North Dakota in January or Texas in July, Lee said. So, physical demands, stress and danger, coupled with low pay, make it a sure thing for the "worst" list.
Plus, Lee adds, there isn't job security — if a well runs dry, the rig workers get let go.
Salary: $17.44 / hour
Change From 2012: Down 19
It's no secret, while most of us think of acting as a dream job (What's up, George Clooney!) — for the other 99 percent in the profession, it's a tough slog.
The dramatic 19-place drop on the list from last year isn't due to any huge drop in demand for actors, but rather new data that CareerCast obtained.
So, tough hiring outlook, low pay and a lot of stress.
Imagine if you had to constantly keep auditioning for your job, and even if you were over-the-top qualified, you weren't picked due to your age or hair color.
That's a wrap.
Change From 2012: No Change
It's no secret why soldier makes the list — dangerous, stressful work conditions that put your life at risk. No job security. Long stretches away from home and loved ones. And one of those factors alone would probably make the rest of us civilians break.
But here's the fascinating thing about the "worst" list — for many of these jobs, like soldier or actor — the people doing the jobs don't see it as the worst. Many love what they do and can't imagine it any other way.
"They're doing it for reasons beyond themselves — patriotism," Lee said.
Change From 2012: Up 1
"Lumberjack has always been at the bottom of the list — it's an incredibly dangerous job," Lee said. In fact, last year, it was the No. 1 worst job.
The job is outdoors in all weather and all conditions — and involves climbing trees with dangerous equipment like chainsaws.
"And the hiring demand is shrinking," Lee said. "It's not as bad as meter reader but a lot of the job that lumberjacks do is being mechanized," he said.
Still, like actors and soldiers, many a lumberjack will tell you they love their job.
Lee recalls one lumberjack they spoke to a few years ago who broke his leg twice and his collar bone and lost his pinky finger and just shrugged and said, "No big deal. Just part of the job."
Wow. You gotta really love being outdoors and in danger to risk that!
Change From 2012: Down 4
Newspaper reporters have always had low-paying, stressful jobs with long hours but the consolidation in the industry and emergence of digital media have piled a bad job outlook on top of all that.
Lee said this was the biggest surprise for them — that newspaper reporter came in as the No. 1 worst job.
"Think about the jobs: Lumberjack — that's pretty tough. Soldiers on the front line. You can't imagine that newspaper reporter is worse," he said. "But then you look at the criteria and you see it's worse. The hiring outlook is just terrible — it's a negative number!"
"Now, it's not just the stress of duties of the job but whether you're going to get to keep your job," he said.
Plus, newspaper reporters are now being asked to do more — Tweeting, doing video, etc.
Newspaper reporters may have the worst job ever but most still love what they do.
"They don't care. They got into the business for a reason. They stick it out even though they realize they might get laid off," Lee said.
The 10 Best Jobs for 2013