The 10 Lowest Paying Jobs in America

The U.S. Department of Labor has released a list of the 10 lowest-paying jobs in America, and things are not looking so great for people who work in the restaurant and beauty industries.

While hair salon shampooers are paid the lowest at $18,600 a year, it's food industry workers that seem to really be suffering. The food industry accounts for seven out of the 10 lowest paid jobs in the country.

Food preparation and service workers are the second lowest paid at $18,720 a year, followed by fast food cooks at $18,780, dishwashers at $18,930 and counter attendants, coffee shop and cafeteria workers at $19,430 a year. Hosts and hostesses of restaurants, lounges and coffee shops make $19,570 a year, and dining room, cafeteria attendants and bartender helpers, or barbacks, make $19,690.

The list is rounded out by farm workers and laborers at $19,990, amusement and recreation attendants at $20,020 and ushers and ticket takers at $20,320 a year.

The data comes from the Labor Department, which used the average annual pay in 2012 to create the list.

Tell Us What You Think

We want to hear from you! What do you think of the 10 lowest paid jobs in America? Share your thoughts on Twitter or in the comments!

More From PayScale

Are You Underpaid? Here's How You Can Find Out

Highest Paying Jobs Have the Biggest Gender Pay Gap

The Right Way to Give Pay Raises

fast food worker

(Photo credit: The Consumerist/Flickr)


  1. 2 Anon 04 May
    I work for the US Air Force at one of the base lodging and we don't receive much more for a salary than whatever the local minimum wage happens to be and with the sequester going on there is no possibility of a cola or even a promotion! And we work just as hard and as long as our outside competitors. 
  2. 1 Steven 05 Apr
    you call that low? wait till you come to the philippines, you work your ass of and you get nothing half of what you get paid in the us. Hello domestic helpers


  1. Please prove to us that you're not a robot:

Find Out Exactly What You Should Be Paid

United States (change)

Comp Managers: Start Here »