Personal Finance

Here are the best and worst jobs of 2019

Key Points
  • STEM positions — those in science, technology, engineering and math — continue to dominate an annual ranking released by CareerCast.
  • All of the top 10 on the list require at least a bachelor's degree.
  • Taxi driver ranked at the very bottom.
Ariel Skelley/Getty Images

If you want a job in a growing field with high pay and low stress, you should probably like math, numbers and data.

Of the 10 best jobs for 2019 — based on income, anticipated growth rate, work environment and stress — five are in mathematical sciences, according to a new report released by

The ranking shows not only continued demand for workers with a STEM background — science, technology, engineering and mathematics — but also widespread need by companies for help sorting the massive amounts of data they collect.

"STEM fields have pretty much consistently been at the top of these reports, but the numbers aspect is interesting because so many industries need those positions," said Kyle Kensing, online content editor at CareerCast.

Best jobs of 2019

Ranking Profession Annual median salary Growth outlook (to 2026)
1Data scientist$118,370 19%
2Statistician$88,190 33%
3University professor$78,470 15%
4Occupational therapist$84,270 24%
5Genetic counselor$80,370 29%
6Medical services manager$99,730 20%
7Information security analyst$98,350 28%
8Mathematician$88,190 33%
9Operations research analyst$83,390 27%
10Actuary$102,880 22%

Source: Source: CareerCast

The annual report, released Tuesday, comes amid the strongest labor market in 50 years. With the unemployment rate at 3.6%, there are more job openings than there are people looking for work.

By comparison, 10 years ago in the midst of the Great Recession, there was one opening for every 6.2 unemployed job seekers, according to government data.

All of the top 10 positions on CareerCast's new ranking require at least a bachelor's degree. The top-ranked job is data scientist, which comes with a median salary of $118,370 and a growth outlook of 19% from 2016 to 2026. Coming in second is statistician, which has a median $88,190 salary and is expected to grow at a 33% clip in that 10-year period.

At the bottom of the list

Ranking Profession Annual median salary Growth outlook (to 2026)
211Broadcaster$66,880 0%
212Advertising salesperson$51,740 -4%
213Nuclear decontamination technician$42,030 17%
214Disc jockey$31,990 -9%
215Correctional officer$44,400 -7%
216Enlisted military personnel$26,802 n/a
217Retail salesperson$24,340 2%
218Newspaper reporter$43,490 -9%
219Logging worker$40,650 -13%
220Taxi driver$25,980 5%

Source: Source: CareerCast

"It's about our work being based online," Kensing said. "There's more data out there than ever before.

"Things like consumption habits, trends in the workplace, or in health care going from paper records to cloud-based data — all that data needs to be interpreted."

Rounding out the top five are university professor, occupational therapist and genetic counselor.

At the opposite end of the ranking are many jobs that are becoming less common, in part due to displacement from technology. Or, factors such as lower pay, stress or potential for danger can contribute to their low ranking.

At the very bottom is taxi driver, which comes with a median annual salary of $25,980 and anticipated growth in the field of just 5% to 2026.

Graduates: Here's how to start your career in the best way possible
Graduates: Here's how to start your career in the best way possible

"Before, even though it didn't pay well, it had good job growth," Kensing said. "Now that's fallen because of ride-sharing options."

Also at the bottom of the heap is logging. While the salary is $40,650, the growth outlook is a negative 13%. Newspaper reporters, with median pay of $43,490, also face a negative 9% growth rate.

Nevertheless, Kensing said, if you're interested in one of those jobs, its ranking shouldn't dissuade you.

"Just because it ranks near the bottom doesn't mean it's not a great job," Kensing said. "A lot of them are vital to our society.

"This just gives you an educated look at the challenges that come with them."

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