The lowest paying jobs in the United States

The American labor market is an ever-changing beast. New job opportunities arise, and others fall away as new technologies are created and existing ones become obsolete.
So what types of jobs will you find in any market? Low-paying ones. The majority of American workers are employed in blue-collar sectors that pay less than $20 an hour.
This makes sense – it’s not uncommon for teenagers or first-time job seekers to take low-paying positions as they begin their careers or explore new fields. However, for many people, these low-wage gigs turn out to be long-term career options rather than stepping stones to something better. In fact, the vast majority of minimum wage workers remain at that wage for at least one year .

Topic Index
  1. Fast Food Workers
  2. Office Assistants
  3. Retail Employees
  4. Home Health Aides
  5. Data Entry and Recovery Specialists
  6. Gaming Dealers and Cashiers
  7. Transportation and Warehousing Employees

Fast Food Workers

While fast food workers often earn more than minimum wage, many have to endure poor working conditions and limited career advancement opportunities, making higher pay not much of a consolation. On average, fast food workers make $9.89 an hour, but many earn less than that due to deductions for things like uniforms or having to take time off due to health issues.

High turnover rates for fast food workers are common due to the fact that most of these positions require only a high school diploma and very little training. While some workers might want to climb the ladder and make the jump to a better-paying position, the lack of career advancement opportunities makes this challenging.

Office Assistants

The fact that a large part of an office worker’s job consists of simply keeping the office clean and stocked with supplies certainly doesn’t translate to a high salary. Office assistants earned a median of $10.65 an hour as of May 2018. While some office managers might be inclined to give their assistants a raise once their probation period is over, others might feel that the job is best suited to entry-level workers.

While it’s unlikely that you’ll climb the corporate ladder and quickly become a CEO as an office assistant, some workers find satisfaction in the job and are willing to stay there as long as they can.

Retail Employees

Retail workers, including cashiers and stockers, earn an average of $10.89 an hour, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. These employees may enjoy the pleasure of meeting a new customer while ringing up their goods, but they often work shifts that include evening or weekend hours and may be required to work on holidays.

Managers may consider the wages of retail workers to be sufficient for the work they do, particularly when considering the fact that many retail workers may not have a college degree. At the same time, though, the constant flow of new workers may make climbing the retail ladder a challenge.

Home Health Aides

What is it about taking care of some people that’s so poorly compensated? The average hourly rate for home health aides is $10.98, and many individuals in this field have only a high school diploma and a minimum of training or experience. Some workers in this field may have the ability to expand their knowledge and perform tasks that are more challenging, but others may find that they are stuck in the same job for a long time.

For those who want to remain in this field and be satisfied with their work, there may be advantages. For instance, many home health aides work independently and schedule their own schedules, which gives them more control over their work life.

Data Entry and Recovery Specialists

This job may come with a lot of responsibility, but the average salary for data entry and recovery specialists is only $11.03 an hour. These workers often assist with restoring and maintaining computer systems. They may also enter data into a computer system.

Some workers in this field may have the knowledge and skills to advance to a higher-paying position, but many are likely to be stuck in their current roles for a long period of time. Still, data entry workers may enjoy the flexibility of the work and the ability to work from home.

Gaming Dealers and Cashiers

Gaming dealers earn $11.07 an hour, while cashiers earn $10.86 an hour. These jobs are often held by teenagers who are looking for a job that allows them to work during school hours. As a result, these jobs often offer little to no career advancement.

A person working as a cashier or casino dealer may find that this work is sufficient for their financial needs. However, some individuals may want to climb the career ladder and may find that there are few opportunities to do so.

Transportation and Warehousing Employees

Transportation workers, including truck drivers, earn $11.30 an hour, while workers in warehouses earn $11.28 an hour. While some of these workers might have the knowledge and skills to advance to a better-paying position in the future, others might find that this is the only type of work that they are able to do for long periods of time.

Working in transportation and warehousing can be an ideal job for some people. These workers may enjoy the freedom of setting their own schedules and be able to work while they travel. At the same time, though, people in these fields often incur a lot of wear and tear on their bodies, which can take a toll as they get older.

While some low-wage workers might enjoy the job they currently have, many would like to work toward earning a higher salary. Many workers may find that they can advance their careers by enrolling in continuing education courses, such as those offered by online colleges, that allow them to obtain a degree in a new field. This can make the difference between an entry-level job and a well-paying career.

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