This Article Lists the Lowest Paying Jobs in the United States

The lowest paying job is one where the worker is paid the least amount of money for their time and labor. This could be due to a number of reasons, such as being in a low-skilled position or working in a sector with little demand. In some cases, workers may be paid less because they are new to the job market or are considered to be in a vulnerable group.

Recreational Protective Services (e.g., Lifeguards and Ski Patrol)

recreational protective services eg lifeguards and ski patrol
recreational protective services eg lifeguards and ski patrol

The median hourly wage for recreational protective service workers, including lifeguards and ski patrol, is $10.66. The lowest 10 percent earn less than $9.17, and the highest 10 percent earn more than $16.09. Median annual earnings for salaried recreational protective service workers are $21,780. The middle 50 percent earn between $18,710 and $25,540 a year. The lowest 10 percent earn less than $15,560 a year while the top 10 percent bring in more than $33,430 annually.

Most entry-level positions in this field require only a high school diploma or equivalent although some employers may prefer those with postsecondary education or certification in first aid and CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation). Some jobs may also require proficiency in swimming or another sport relevant to the position such as skiing or surfing; however, many employers provide training on the job. Because most of these positions are found at outdoor locations such as beaches and pools or on mountainsides, workers must be able to tolerate exposure to inclement weather conditions when necessary.

Waiters and Waitresses

There are a number of reasons why waiters and waitresses are paid so little. For one thing, they are often paid entirely in tips, which means that their income can fluctuate greatly from day to day depending on how generous their customers are feeling. In addition, many restaurants do not offer health insurance or other benefits to their employees, further driving down wages.

Despite their low pay, Waiters and Waitresses play an important role in the food service industry by providing customers with direct service such as taking orders and serving food and drink items. They may also be responsible for cleaning tables and resetting them for the next customer group.

Parking Lot Attendants

This can be a difficult job for those who have to work long hours in all weather conditions. Parking lot attendants must be able to deal with the public and handle customer complaints. They must also be able to direct traffic and keep the parking lot safe and clean.

A job is only as low paying as you allow it to be.

Maids and Housekeepers

Maids and housekeepers are responsible for cleaning homes and businesses. They dust furniture, vacuum carpets, wash windows, clean bathrooms, and do other cleaning tasks. Some maids and housekeepers also cook meals or do laundry for their employers.

Most maids and housekeepers work part time. In fact, about 60 percent of these workers are part-time employees, according to the BLS. Many maids and housekeepers work only when their employers need them; they may work only a few hours each week or a few days each month. This can make it difficult for them to earn a steady income.

Some maids and housekeepers live in the homes where they work; this is especially common among those who work for wealthy families or business executives who travel often. These workers typically receive free room and board in addition to their wages.

Home Health and Personal Care Aides

Most home health and personal care aides are trained on the job by more experienced workers. Some states have certification programs for home health aides, which may include a period of supervised work experience. Although certification is not required, it may give an applicant a competitive edge when applying for a job.

The median annual wage for home health and personal care aides was $22,600 in May 2020. Employment of home health and personal care aides is projected to grow 18 percent from 2019 to 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations. The demand for these workers will continue to grow as the population ages and people with disabilities require assistance with daily activities at home rather than in nursing homes or other institutions.

Automotive and Watercraft Service Attendants

Most automotive and watercraft service attendants work in full-service gas stations or auto dealerships. Some may also work in self-service facilities or car washes. Many service attendants are employed part time, although some full-time positions are available.

Education requirements for automotive and watercraft service attendants vary by employer, but most only require a high school diploma or equivalent. Some employers may prefer to hire candidates with experience working on cars or with customer service experience. Many automotive and watercraft service attendant positions are entry-level jobs that offer on-the-job training.

The median annual salary for automotive and watercraft service attendants was $23,170 in 2019.* Salaries vary by employer, geographic location, and level of experience.

Non-farm Animal Caretakers

some of the lowest paying jobs - nonfarm animal caretakers
some of the lowest paying jobs – nonfarm animal caretakers

Animal caretakers feed, water, and provide general care for non-farm animals. They clean cages and pens and may exercise the animals.

The median hourly wage for animal caretakers was $9.78 in May 2019. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $8.21, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $14.65.

Most animal caretakers work in kennels, animal shelters, zoos, circuses, aquariums, or laboratories. Some work in pet stores or groomers’ shops; on farms; or at stables where they take care of horses used for riding or racing purposes.”


But it’s not all doom and gloom for bartenders. The occupation is expected to grow by 7 percent over the next decade, which is faster than average. And there are some bartending jobs that pay much better than others.

The best-paying bartending jobs are typically in high-end restaurants and bars, where experienced bartenders can earn up to $20 an hour or more in tips. But even entry-level bartenders can earn decent wages if they work in busy establishments.

So why is bartender pay so low? There are a few reasons. First, tips make up a significant portion of a bartender’s income, and they can vary greatly from one night to the next depending on factors like the weather, the economy, and who’s drinking (and how much).

Bartenders often have to share their tips with other staffers such as servers and bar backs (people who help keep the bar stocked). And finally, many bars require bartenders to buy their own supplies (like liquor) or pay rent for their space at the bar.

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