Thursday, January 23, 2014

The Best And Worst Jobs For 2013

You may think you have the worst job in America—but are you always on call and facing a deadline, working in a high-stress environment, all for very little pay? Do you routinely work outdoors on the hottest and coldest days of the year? Does your work constantly put you at risk of severe injury or death? If not, you probably don’t have one of the worst jobs.
The career guidance website has evaluated 200 professions across a wide variety of industries, skill levels and salary ranges to determine the best and worst jobs of 2013. To measure each job used four core criteria: pay, outlook, work environment, and stress. It gathered data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Census Bureau, trade association studies and other sources. broke each category into elements and gave each element points. In the final result, a higher point total means a less desirable job, and a lower score reflects a more desirable one.
Thanks to ever-shrinking newsrooms, dwindling budgets, and competition from online news organizations—newspaper reporter ranks as the nation’s worst job for 2013.
Tony Lee, publisher of, says the profession has always been ranked among the worst jobs due to low pay, high levels of stress from working under deadlines, a poor hiring outlook and the requirement to be on duty twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. “But with newspapers cutting back so dramatically, the job actually has a negative growth outlook, meaning there will be fewer newspaper reporters in the future.”
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics anticipates that the number of traditional print newspapers reporter jobs will decline 6% by 2020. The median salary for these professionals—which is currently a meager $36,000 a year—is also expected to shrink.
Lumberjack is the second worst job of 2013, due to the “hazardous working conditions, a likelihood of breaking or losing a limb on the job, and poor hiring prospects because of low demand for lumber due to less construction,” says Lee.
Also known as loggers, lumberjacks typically harvest, cut and transport timber to be processed into lumber, paper and other wood products. Lumberjacks perform strenuous labor in hostile environments, and the work is often intermittent and low-paying. The profession, like others on the list, has a history of high unemployment. Midlevel pay for lumberjacks, which was the worst job of all in 2012, now totals $32,870.
Enlisted military personnel—the most stressful job of 2013, according to CareerCast—ranked as the third worst job this year because “their lives are on the line, daily,” Lee says. “They are away from home for long stretches of time and with the draw-down, many are being pushed out of the military even though they want to make it a career.” The men and women who volunteer in the Armed Forces are routinely placed in dangerous situations—but the good news is, as the military draws down, fewer soldiers will be needed, Lee says.
Elsewhere on the list of “worst jobs”: Actor, oil rig worker, and dairy farmer.
“Earning a living as an actor has become even more difficult as more people enter the field, while the number of professional positions–those that pay–have fallen through the recession,” Lee explains.
Oil rig worker, which was the worst job of 2011, is now in the No. 5 spot. They put in long, brutal hours, often isolated from family and friends for weeks at a time.
Meanwhile, No. 6 dairy farmer ranked so poorly because these professionals are required to “work outdoors in all weather conditions, at all hours, with very large animals that step on their feet and break limbs,” Lee says. “Plus, they compete with corporate dairy producers so earnings are down.”
Most professions on the worst jobs list do not require a high school diploma–whereas a college degree or advanced training is necessary for nearly all of the top-rated jobs.
Many of the best jobs for 2013 also require proficiency in science, math or technology, and most aren’t dangerous, physically demanding, or highly stressful, according to CareerCast.
In Pictures: The Best And Worst Jobs For 2013
At the other end of the spectrum we have the best jobs for 2013. At the top of the heap: Actuary.
According to the BLS, actuaries analyze statistical data, such as mortality, accident, sickness, disability, and retirement rates and construct probability tables to forecast risk and liability for payment of future benefits. They also might ascertain insurance rates required and cash reserves necessary to ensure payment of future benefits.
“Actuary is a top-rated job because it performs very well in all of the criteria we measure,” Lee says, “There simply aren’t enough actuaries to fill the growing demand among a wide range of employers, which will keep actuaries ranked highly for years to come.”
Lee says the profession was once limited to the insurance industry, “but now more companies in all different industries need professionals with actuary science skills.”
The median pay for an actuary is $87,650 a year—and the number of jobs in this profession is expected to grow by 27% (by 2020), according to the BLS.
The second best job this year is biomedical engineer. This profession is new to the CareerCast ranking this year. The projected job growth for biomedical engineer is 62%–and professionals in this field make about $81,540 a year, on average.
What do they do?
According to the BLS, they apply knowledge of engineering, biology, and biomechanical principles to the design, development, and evaluation of biological and health systems and products, such as artificial organs, prostheses, instrumentation, medical information systems, and heath management and care delivery systems. Their goal is to improve the quality and effectiveness of patient care.
“This is a hot new field that combines health care and engineering, so that engineers work with physicians and medical experts to design new equipment,” Lee adds.
Thanks partly to our infatuation with cell phone apps and cloud computing, a few technical positions landed at the top of the list this year. The No. 3 job, software engineer, requires computer knowledge, skill with numbers and an ability to design and create software. “We are in a technological revolution right now, and there is heated demand for software engineers,” Lee says. The profession is considered a low stress one with good pay and a positive hiring outlook.
Median annual pay for software engineers totals $90,530. The projected job growth for the profession: 30%., which has ranked the best and worst jobs in America for 25 years, seeks to find professions that provide the best overall experience for employees, not just jobs that shine in one particular area.
“We hear from many middle school and high school teachers that their students don’t have realistic expectations about the working world, and our list helps them understand what makes one job better than another,” Lee says. “It also allows them to start preparing for careers they will find fulfilling that will reward them through the years with increasingly better opportunities.”

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