[Editor’s note: The following is a cross post by Cindy Perlman that originally appeared on CNBC.com]:
There are a variety of reasons a job can get slapped with the “worst job” title. It could be that it’s an extremely dangerous or stressful job or, in the case of this year’s No. 1 worst job, it could be that the job outlook is dismal.
So, while the economy and hiring outlook may be improving overall, for some of these jobs, it doesn’t matter.
“Even with an improving economy, it doesn’t make a different with the worst jobs,” said Tony Lee, publisher of CareerCast.
CareerCast is out with their annual list of the 10 Best and 10 Worst Jobs of 2013. They took a look at 200 jobs and ranked them based on a variety of criteria, including income, outlook, environmental factors, stress and physical demands.
Interestingly, some of the jobs that made the “10 Worst” list last year but managed to skirt it this year were in the food-service industry — butcher, dishwasher and waiter/waitress. They are, of course, still tough jobs with low pay and little job security, but the economic recovery may have helped the restaurant industry start to come back as more people go out to eat or treat themselves to a steak at home. Indeed, the National Restaurant Association reported that the restaurant job growth hit a 17-year high in 2012.
“The restaurant industry bounced back quickly after the recession,” the NRA said.
So, what are the worst jobs this year?
10. Flight Attendant
Change From 2012: Down 16
Flight attendants have always had a dangerous and stressful job but what made the job fall so many notches down the list this year was a “very poor hiring outlook” due to all the restructuring in the industry, Lee said. With the American and US Air merger, for example, that meant jobs being eliminated.
“It’s getting worse,” Lee said. “Airlines have decided that if they used to maintain four flight attendants on a flight, now they’re looking to cut it to three. That’s a 25-percent decrease.”
“And, if you’re a flight attendant that’s been let go – there’s no job available for you elsewhere,” Lee said.
Change From 2012: Down 15
“That has a lot to do with the decline in the housing market,” Lee said.
You might think that with Hurricane Sandy and other home-damaging events last year that that might have offset some of the loss of work due to a weak housing market but Lee said repair is a small part of the roofing industry – the bulk of it is new construction.
And, it was always a dangerous job with low pay to begin with. Add in the tough outlook and that lands this job squarely on the worst list.
8. Mail Carrier
Change From 2012: Down 9
Of course mail carriers have always had a tough job, braving the elements — including desperate housewives and neighborhood dogs. But build into that the decline in mail volume due to email and texting plus the threat of canceling Saturday delivery and that drags it down the list with a negative hiring outlook.
Saturdays haven’t officially been canceled but the threat of it was built into this year’s calculation and, Lee said, “It’s pretty clear that’s down the road.”
Right now in the industry, there are more jobs being eliminated than created, he added.
7. Meter Reader
Change From 2012: No Change
Oh, meter readers — as if the dogs, bad weather and no trespassing signs weren’t tough enough, with electronic meter-reading technology, this job is fast going the way of the dinosaurs. In fact, CareerCast reviews its list of 200 jobs every year, adding a few and removing a few depending on relevancy, and while meter readers made the cut this year, Lee said they have discussed taking it off the list altogether.
This job is “being replaced by the electronic meter reader and you don’t need a person to show up and read your meter anymore,” Lee said.
6. Dairy Farmer
Change From 2012: Up 4
While there will always be demand for milk, this job makes the list primarily because of the danger of working with big animals like cows.
“The risk of injury is very high — they don’t care if you’re standing in their way when they step on you!” Lee said.
Plus, the hiring outlook has been tough — the industry is fast becoming a corporate business so “individual dairy farmers are have a much tougher time competing,” Lee said.
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