October 19, 2023 | Sammy Tran

The Top 10 Lowest Paying Jobs in America


The Top 10 Lowest Paying Jobs

Theme park worker and shocked woman split image

In a world where income inequality continues to be a pressing issue, understanding which jobs pay the least can be helpful.

This article explores the 10 lowest-paying jobs, offering insight into their wages, roles, reasons for low compensation, and supporting statistics.

Why These Jobs Are Important

Woman wearing black dress is holding pile of coins at her hands.8photo , Freepik

Every job, regardless of its pay scale, serves a crucial function in the broader ecosystem of our economy and society. The roles that fall into the lower-paying category, such as cashiers, dishwashers, and agricultural workers, ensure the smooth functioning of industries that we rely upon daily.

They form the backbone of the service sector, guarantee that our food supply is steady, and play a part in the everyday conveniences we often take for granted.

Without these roles, essential services would be disrupted, leading to a ripple effect in both the economy and our daily lives. Recognizing the importance of these jobs underscores the need for fair wages and dignified working conditions for all.

Now, let’s explore which jobs made it on our list of the Top 10 Lowest Paying Jobs in America.

Fast Food Workers 

customer in brown top ordering food at the counterorbis, Shutterstock

Wage: Federal minimum wage, often around $7.25/hour.

Approximately half of fast-food workers rely on public assistance programs. The rate of pay for this job is likely low because of a high turnover rate, limited required skills, and a surplus of willing workers keep wages low.

Job Description: Responsibilities include taking orders, preparing food, cleaning, and handling cash.

Agricultural Workers

Small town secretsPexels

Wage: Average of $11.84/hour.

Over 30% of farmworkers live below the poverty line. The rate of pay for this job is likely low because it is often seasonal work. An influx of temporary workers contribute to suppressed wages.

Job Description: Includes planting, cultivating, and harvesting crops, and maintaining farm equipment.

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Shampooers

Preventing Hair Loss ReviewShutterstock

Wage: Around $9.09/hour.

Only 13% have full-time employment, making annual incomes even lower. The rate of pay for this job is likely low because it is an entry-level position with limited responsibilities.

Job Description: Shampooing and rinsing customers' hair in salons or barber shops.

Dishwashers

Man washing dishes in sinkU2M Brand, Shutterstock

Wage: Roughly $10.34/hour.

Over 40% of dishwashers live in near-poverty conditions. The rate of pay for this job is likely low because it has limited skill requirements and high worker availability.

Job Description: Cleaning dishes, kitchen appliances, and ensuring cleanliness in the kitchen.

Hosts and Hostesses

Fast Food Worst Customers factsPixabay

Wage: About $10.47/hour.

1 in 5 hosts or hostesses rely on food stamps. The rate of pay for this job is likely low because it is considered an entry-level position in the service industry with limited responsibilities.

Job Description: Greeting customers, assigning tables, and managing waitlists or reservations.

Cashiers

The Dumbest AdultsShutterstock

Wage: On average, $10.78/hour.

About 25% of cashiers have no health coverage. The rate of pay for this job is likely low because automation and self-checkout options reduce demand, thereby capping wages.

Job Description: Handling cash transactions, providing customer service, and possibly bagging items.

Laundry and Dry-Cleaning Workers

Administrator at dry cleaners in uniformH_Ko, Shutterstock

Wage: Around $11.46/hour.

Nearly 30% of these workers live below the poverty line. The rate of pay for this job is likely low because automated processes and overseas outsourcing suppress wages.

Job Description: Cleaning, pressing, and repairing clothing items.

Bartenders

Bartender putting broken ice in a glassMaksym Fesenko, Shutterstock

Wage: Federal sub-minimum wage can be as low as $2.13/hour plus tips.

12.8% of bartenders live in poverty, double the rate of the general workforce. The rate of pay for this job is likely low because there is a heavy reliance on a fluctuating tip-based income.

Job Description: Mixing and serving drinks, interacting with patrons, and maintaining bar cleanliness.

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Recreation and Amusement Attendants

Should have been firedShutterstock

Wage: Approximately $10.31/hour.

Almost 20% don't have health insurance. The rate of pay for this job is likely low because it is seasonal employment and has minimal educational requirements.

Job Description: Overseeing and organizing recreational activities and ensuring safety.

Waitstaff

Horrible Workers Flickr, ILO Asia-Pacific

Wage: The tipped minimum wage is $2.13/hour in many states, with tips expected to make up the difference.

15% of servers live below the official poverty line, thrice the rate for all workers. The rate of pay for this job is likely low because the wage structure heavily relies on tips.

Job Description: Serving food and beverages to patrons, and ensuring a pleasant dining experience.

It's crucial to understand that while these jobs might not offer the highest salaries, they play a fundamental role in our economy and society. 

Respecting every job and advocating for living wages can help build a more equitable world.


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