Lowest-paying jobs in Chicago

Written by:
March 25, 2022
Monkey Business Images // Shutterstock

Lowest-paying jobs in Chicago

Stacker collected information on the lowest-paying jobs in Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI, using data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Jobs are ranked by average annual salary with information up to date as of May 2020. Job descriptions are from O*NET.

In Chicago, the annual mean wage is $60,340 or 7.2% higher than national mean of $56,310, while the lowest-paying occupation makes $20,730. Read on to see which jobs make the list.

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Canva

#50. Cooks, institution and cafeteria

Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
- Annual mean salary: $30,360
- #236 lowest pay among all metros
- Employment: 11,410

National
- Annual mean salary: $29,940
- Employment: 387,300
- Entry level education requirements: No formal educational credential
- Metros with lowest average pay:
--- Montgomery, AL ($19,990)
--- Dothan, AL ($20,340)
--- Decatur, AL ($20,520)
- Job description: Prepare and cook large quantities of food for institutions, such as schools, hospitals, or cafeterias.

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Canva

#49. Dietetic technicians

Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
- Annual mean salary: $30,330
- #47 lowest pay among all metros
- Employment: 1,000

National
- Annual mean salary: $32,920
- Employment: 26,430
- Entry level education requirements: Associate’s degree
- Metros with lowest average pay:
--- Jackson, TN ($19,350)
--- Augusta-Richmond County, GA-SC ($21,080)
--- Wichita Falls, TX ($21,330)
- Job description: Assist in the provision of food service and nutritional programs, under the supervision of a dietitian. May plan and produce meals based on established guidelines, teach principles of food and nutrition, or counsel individuals.

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Unsplash

#48. Textile knitting and weaving machine setters, operators, and tenders

Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
- Annual mean salary: $30,070
- #7 lowest pay among all metros
- Employment: 220

National
- Annual mean salary: $32,370
- Employment: 18,830
- Entry level education requirements: High school diploma or equivalent
- Metros with lowest average pay:
--- Detroit-Warren-Dearborn, MI ($22,960)
--- Asheville, NC ($23,670)
--- Winston-Salem, NC ($26,450)
- Job description: Set up, operate, or tend machines that knit, loop, weave, or draw in textiles.

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Canva

#47. Bakers

Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
- Annual mean salary: $29,970
- #169 lowest pay among all metros
- Employment: 9,410

National
- Annual mean salary: $31,060
- Employment: 168,890
- Entry level education requirements: No formal educational credential
- Metros with lowest average pay:
--- Sherman-Denison, TX ($21,310)
--- Beaumont-Port Arthur, TX ($21,560)
--- St. George, UT ($22,110)
- Job description: Mix and bake ingredients to produce breads, rolls, cookies, cakes, pies, pastries, or other baked goods.

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Oksana Shufrych // Shutterstock

#46. Recreation workers

Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
- Annual mean salary: $29,920
- #210 lowest pay among all metros
- Employment: 10,790

National
- Annual mean salary: $30,960
- Employment: 325,640
- Entry level education requirements: High school diploma or equivalent
- Metros with lowest average pay:
--- Rocky Mount, NC ($20,040)
--- Lake Charles, LA ($20,300)
--- Monroe, LA ($21,000)
- Job description: Conduct recreation activities with groups in public, private, or volunteer agencies or recreation facilities. Organize and promote activities, such as arts and crafts, sports, games, music, dramatics, social recreation, camping, and hobbies, taking into account the needs and interests of individual members.

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Martin Smith // Shutterstock

#45. Parking attendants

Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
- Annual mean salary: $29,840
- #149 lowest pay among all metros
- Employment: 4,320

National
- Annual mean salary: $27,910
- Employment: 123,790
- Entry level education requirements: No formal educational credential
- Metros with lowest average pay:
--- Lake Charles, LA ($19,840)
--- Huntsville, AL ($19,910)
--- Auburn-Opelika, AL ($20,000)
- Job description: Park vehicles or issue tickets for customers in a parking lot or garage. May park or tend vehicles in environments such as a car dealership or rental car facility. May collect fee.

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Canva

#44. Tire repairers and changers

Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
- Annual mean salary: $29,790
- #112 lowest pay among all metros
- Employment: 2,850

National
- Annual mean salary: $31,790
- Employment: 98,560
- Entry level education requirements: High school diploma or equivalent
- Metros with lowest average pay:
--- Monroe, LA ($20,890)
--- Terre Haute, IN ($21,540)
--- Champaign-Urbana, IL ($22,830)
- Job description: Repair and replace tires.

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Canva

#42 (tie). Farmworkers, farm, ranch, and aquacultural animals

Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
- Annual mean salary: $29,730
- #49 lowest pay among all metros
- Employment: 300

National
- Annual mean salary: $31,060
- Employment: 36,820
- Entry level education requirements: No formal educational credential
- Metros with lowest average pay:
--- Goldsboro, NC ($20,690)
--- Lynchburg, VA ($22,130)
--- Tulsa, OK ($22,450)
- Job description: Attend to live farm, ranch, open range or aquacultural animals that may include cattle, sheep, swine, goats, horses and other equines, poultry, rabbits, finfish, shellfish, and bees. Attend to animals produced for animal products, such as meat, fur, skins, feathers, eggs, milk, and honey. Duties may include feeding, watering, herding, grazing, milking, castrating, branding, de-beaking, weighing, catching, and loading animals. May maintain records on animals; examine animals to detect diseases and injuries; assist in birth deliveries; and administer medications, vaccinations, or insecticides as appropriate. May clean and maintain animal housing areas. Includes workers who shear wool from sheep and collect eggs in hatcheries.

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Elliot Brown // Flickr

#42 (tie). Textile winding, twisting, and drawing out machine setters, operators, and tenders

Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
- Annual mean salary: $29,730
- #6 lowest pay among all metros
- Employment: data not available

National
- Annual mean salary: $32,130
- Employment: 25,480
- Entry level education requirements: High school diploma or equivalent
- Metros with lowest average pay:
--- Montgomery, AL ($21,590)
--- Burlington, NC ($25,140)
--- Hickory-Lenoir-Morganton, NC ($27,700)
- Job description: Set up, operate, or tend machines that wind or twist textiles; or draw out and combine sliver, such as wool, hemp, or synthetic fibers. Includes slubber machine and drawing frame operators.

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Canva

#41. Physical therapist aides

Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
- Annual mean salary: $29,640
- #98 lowest pay among all metros
- Employment: 810

National
- Annual mean salary: $30,110
- Employment: 45,790
- Entry level education requirements: High school diploma or equivalent
- Metros with lowest average pay:
--- Fort Wayne, IN ($19,710)
--- Houma-Thibodaux, LA ($20,200)
--- Montgomery, AL ($20,390)
- Job description: Under close supervision of a physical therapist or physical therapy assistant, perform only delegated, selected, or routine tasks in specific situations. These duties include preparing the patient and the treatment area.

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Canva

#40. Sewers, hand

Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
- Annual mean salary: $29,510
- #3 lowest pay among all metros
- Employment: 80

National
- Annual mean salary: $30,790
- Employment: 3,410
- Entry level education requirements: No formal educational credential
- Metros with lowest average pay:
--- Salt Lake City, UT ($26,660)
--- Ogden-Clearfield, UT ($26,930)
--- Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI ($29,510)
- Job description: Sew, join, reinforce, or finish, usually with needle and thread, a variety of manufactured items. Includes weavers and stitchers.

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Unsplash

#39. Floral designers

Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
- Annual mean salary: $29,420
- #86 lowest pay among all metros
- Employment: 1,640

National
- Annual mean salary: $30,670
- Employment: 36,810
- Entry level education requirements: High school diploma or equivalent
- Metros with lowest average pay:
--- Oshkosh-Neenah, WI ($19,290)
--- Beaumont-Port Arthur, TX ($21,560)
--- Kingsport-Bristol-Bristol, TN-VA ($22,530)
- Job description: Design, cut, and arrange live, dried, or artificial flowers and foliage.

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Rawpixel.com // Shutterstock

#38. Maids and housekeeping cleaners

Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
- Annual mean salary: $29,300
- #310 lowest pay among all metros
- Employment: 19,670

National
- Annual mean salary: $28,010
- Employment: 795,590
- Entry level education requirements: No formal educational credential
- Metros with lowest average pay:
--- Monroe, LA ($18,460)
--- Valdosta, GA ($18,730)
--- Alexandria, LA ($19,070)
- Job description: Perform any combination of light cleaning duties to maintain private households or commercial establishments, such as hotels and hospitals, in a clean and orderly manner. Duties may include making beds, replenishing linens, cleaning rooms and halls, and vacuuming.

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Jorge Royan // Wikimedia Commons

#37. Shoe and leather workers and repairers

Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
- Annual mean salary: $29,240
- #8 lowest pay among all metros
- Employment: 290

National
- Annual mean salary: $31,480
- Employment: 7,380
- Entry level education requirements: High school diploma or equivalent
- Metros with lowest average pay:
--- Lancaster, PA ($24,080)
--- Nashville-Davidson--Murfreesboro--Franklin, TN ($24,740)
--- Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, GA ($27,040)
- Job description: Construct, decorate, or repair leather and leather-like products, such as luggage, shoes, and saddles. May use hand tools.

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UfaBizPhoto // Shutterstock

#36. Sewing machine operators

Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
- Annual mean salary: $29,010
- #106 lowest pay among all metros
- Employment: 3,130

National
- Annual mean salary: $29,420
- Employment: 116,520
- Entry level education requirements: No formal educational credential
- Metros with lowest average pay:
--- El Paso, TX ($18,940)
--- McAllen-Edinburg-Mission, TX ($21,950)
--- Wichita Falls, TX ($22,070)
- Job description: Operate or tend sewing machines to join, reinforce, decorate, or perform related sewing operations in the manufacture of garment or nongarment products.

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Nejron Photo // Shutterstock

#35. Cleaners of vehicles and equipment

Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
- Annual mean salary: $28,890
- #234 lowest pay among all metros
- Employment: 10,800

National
- Annual mean salary: $29,400
- Employment: 341,660
- Entry level education requirements: No formal educational credential
- Metros with lowest average pay:
--- Florence-Muscle Shoals, AL ($20,280)
--- Albany, GA ($20,850)
--- Dalton, GA ($20,890)
- Job description: Wash or otherwise clean vehicles, machinery, and other equipment. Use such materials as water, cleaning agents, brushes, cloths, and hoses.

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Pfc. Dalton Precht // Wikimedia Commons

#34. Gambling cage workers

Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
- Annual mean salary: $28,760
- #13 lowest pay among all metros
- Employment: 280

National
- Annual mean salary: $29,700
- Employment: 10,560
- Entry level education requirements: High school diploma or equivalent
- Metros with lowest average pay:
--- New Orleans-Metairie, LA ($22,420)
--- Tulsa, OK ($22,980)
--- Oklahoma City, OK ($23,730)
- Job description: In a gambling establishment, conduct financial transactions for patrons. Accept patron's credit application and verify credit references to provide check-cashing authorization or to establish house credit accounts. May reconcile daily summaries of transactions to balance books. May sell gambling chips, tokens, or tickets to patrons, or to other workers for resale to patrons. May convert gambling chips, tokens, or tickets to currency upon patron's request. May use a cash register or computer to record transaction.

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Jason Person // Shutterstock

#33. Cooks, short order

Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
- Annual mean salary: $28,660
- #167 lowest pay among all metros
- Employment: 1,800

National
- Annual mean salary: $27,030
- Employment: 123,350
- Entry level education requirements: No formal educational credential
- Metros with lowest average pay:
--- Laredo, TX ($18,660)
--- Gainesville, GA ($18,740)
--- Mobile, AL ($18,820)
- Job description: Prepare and cook to order a variety of foods that require only a short preparation time. May take orders from customers and serve patrons at counters or tables.

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Canva

#32. Cleaning, washing, and metal pickling equipment operators and tenders

Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
- Annual mean salary: $28,610
- #7 lowest pay among all metros
- Employment: 240

National
- Annual mean salary: $34,600
- Employment: 14,060
- Entry level education requirements: High school diploma or equivalent
- Metros with lowest average pay:
--- Racine, WI ($24,890)
--- Rockford, IL ($27,080)
--- Oklahoma City, OK ($27,820)
- Job description: Operate or tend machines to wash or clean products, such as barrels or kegs, glass items, tin plate, food, pulp, coal, plastic, or rubber, to remove impurities.

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Canva

#31. Graders and sorters, agricultural products

Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
- Annual mean salary: $28,460
- #20 lowest pay among all metros
- Employment: data not available

National
- Annual mean salary: $29,620
- Employment: 28,640
- Entry level education requirements: No formal educational credential
- Metros with lowest average pay:
--- Lakeland-Winter Haven, FL ($20,420)
--- Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach, FL ($20,450)
--- Las Cruces, NM ($23,940)
- Job description: Grade, sort, or classify unprocessed food and other agricultural products by size, weight, color, or condition.

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PxHere

#30. Library assistants, clerical

Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
- Annual mean salary: $28,390
- #118 lowest pay among all metros
- Employment: 3,160

National
- Annual mean salary: $30,740
- Employment: 84,560
- Entry level education requirements: High school diploma or equivalent
- Metros with lowest average pay:
--- Rocky Mount, NC ($20,080)
--- Corpus Christi, TX ($20,520)
--- Akron, OH ($20,530)
- Job description: Compile records, and sort, shelve, issue, and receive library materials such as books, electronic media, pictures, cards, slides and microfilm. Locate library materials for loan and replace material in shelving area, stacks, or files according to identification number and title. Register patrons to permit them to borrow books, periodicals, and other library materials.

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Canva

#29. Food preparation workers

Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
- Annual mean salary: $28,360
- #289 lowest pay among all metros
- Employment: 22,860

National
- Annual mean salary: $26,820
- Employment: 793,590
- Entry level education requirements: No formal educational credential
- Metros with lowest average pay:
--- Hammond, LA ($18,290)
--- Morristown, TN ($18,550)
--- Monroe, LA ($19,010)
- Job description: Perform a variety of food preparation duties other than cooking, such as preparing cold foods and shellfish, slicing meat, and brewing coffee or tea.

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Krakenimages.com // Shutterstock

#28. Childcare workers

Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
- Annual mean salary: $27,820
- #294 lowest pay among all metros
- Employment: 11,630

National
- Annual mean salary: $26,790
- Employment: 494,360
- Entry level education requirements: High school diploma or equivalent
- Metros with lowest average pay:
--- Rome, GA ($17,330)
--- Dothan, AL ($18,370)
--- Warner Robins, GA ($18,440)
- Job description: Attend to children at schools, businesses, private households, and childcare institutions. Perform a variety of tasks, such as dressing, feeding, bathing, and overseeing play.

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Pexels

#27. Ushers, lobby attendants, and ticket takers

Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
- Annual mean salary: $27,760
- #118 lowest pay among all metros
- Employment: 3,020

National
- Annual mean salary: $26,390
- Employment: 95,600
- Entry level education requirements: No formal educational credential
- Metros with lowest average pay:
--- Tulsa, OK ($18,650)
--- Appleton, WI ($18,760)
--- Myrtle Beach-Conway-North Myrtle Beach, SC-NC ($18,930)
- Job description: Assist patrons at entertainment events by performing duties, such as collecting admission tickets and passes from patrons, assisting in finding seats, searching for lost articles, and helping patrons locate such facilities as restrooms and telephones.

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Canva

#26. Automotive and watercraft service attendants

Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
- Annual mean salary: $27,550
- #149 lowest pay among all metros
- Employment: 2,320

National
- Annual mean salary: $28,150
- Employment: 112,750
- Entry level education requirements: No formal educational credential
- Metros with lowest average pay:
--- Valdosta, GA ($21,570)
--- Chambersburg-Waynesboro, PA ($21,740)
--- La Crosse-Onalaska, WI-MN ($21,950)
- Job description: Service automobiles, buses, trucks, boats, and other automotive or marine vehicles with fuel, lubricants, and accessories. Collect payment for services and supplies. May lubricate vehicle, change motor oil, refill antifreeze, or replace lights or other accessories, such as windshield wiper blades or fan belts. May repair or replace tires.

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Dmitry Kalinovsky // Shutterstock

#25. Laundry and dry-cleaning workers

Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
- Annual mean salary: $27,540
- #255 lowest pay among all metros
- Employment: 5,510

National
- Annual mean salary: $26,600
- Employment: 179,890
- Entry level education requirements: No formal educational credential
- Metros with lowest average pay:
--- Hattiesburg, MS ($18,060)
--- Warner Robins, GA ($18,580)
--- Rome, GA ($19,050)
- Job description: Operate or tend washing or dry-cleaning machines to wash or dry-clean industrial or household articles, such as cloth garments, suede, leather, furs, blankets, draperies, linens, rugs, and carpets. Includes spotters and dyers of these articles.

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Canva

#24. Ambulance drivers and attendants, except emergency medical technicians

Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
- Annual mean salary: $27,490
- #20 lowest pay among all metros
- Employment: 430

National
- Annual mean salary: $30,700
- Employment: 14,120
- Entry level education requirements: High school diploma or equivalent
- Metros with lowest average pay:
--- Beckley, WV ($21,610)
--- Birmingham-Hoover, AL ($22,080)
--- Florence, SC ($22,100)
- Job description: Drive ambulance or assist ambulance driver in transporting sick, injured, or convalescent persons. Assist in lifting patients.

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Canva

#23. Cutters and trimmers, hand

Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
- Annual mean salary: $27,280
- #6 lowest pay among all metros
- Employment: 70

National
- Annual mean salary: $34,190
- Employment: 7,980
- Entry level education requirements: No formal educational credential
- Metros with lowest average pay:
--- Provo-Orem, UT ($24,110)
--- Tulsa, OK ($25,530)
--- Pittsburgh, PA ($25,660)
- Job description: Use hand tools or hand-held power tools to cut and trim a variety of manufactured items, such as carpet, fabric, stone, glass, or rubber.

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Pressmaster // Shutterstock

#22. Baggage porters and bellhops

Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
- Annual mean salary: $27,060
- #52 lowest pay among all metros
- Employment: 1,120

National
- Annual mean salary: $29,060
- Employment: 28,440
- Entry level education requirements: High school diploma or equivalent
- Metros with lowest average pay:
--- Greensboro-High Point, NC ($19,580)
--- Charleston-North Charleston, SC ($19,920)
--- Baton Rouge, LA ($19,940)
- Job description: Handle baggage for travelers at transportation terminals or for guests at hotels or similar establishments.

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Gabriel Georgescu // Shutterstock

#21. Hotel, motel, and resort desk clerks

Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
- Annual mean salary: $26,950
- #270 lowest pay among all metros
- Employment: 4,980

National
- Annual mean salary: $26,900
- Employment: 222,550
- Entry level education requirements: High school diploma or equivalent
- Metros with lowest average pay:
--- Decatur, AL ($18,020)
--- Dalton, GA ($18,450)
--- Monroe, LA ($18,500)
- Job description: Accommodate hotel, motel, and resort patrons by registering and assigning rooms to guests, issuing room keys or cards, transmitting and receiving messages, keeping records of occupied rooms and guests' accounts, making and confirming reservations, and presenting statements to and collecting payments from departing guests.

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VGstockstudio // Shutterstock

#20. Food servers, nonrestaurant

Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
- Annual mean salary: $26,690
- #219 lowest pay among all metros
- Employment: 10,790

National
- Annual mean salary: $27,460
- Employment: 254,650
- Entry level education requirements: No formal educational credential
- Metros with lowest average pay:
--- Decatur, AL ($18,460)
--- Enid, OK ($18,780)
--- Beaumont-Port Arthur, TX ($18,960)
- Job description: Serve food to individuals outside of a restaurant environment, such as in hotel rooms, hospital rooms, residential care facilities, or cars.

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Travis Grathwell // Flickr

#19. Locker room, coatroom, and dressing room attendants

Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
- Annual mean salary: $26,390
- #25 lowest pay among all metros
- Employment: 430

National
- Annual mean salary: $29,320
- Employment: 11,530
- Entry level education requirements: High school diploma or equivalent
- Metros with lowest average pay:
--- Oklahoma City, OK ($20,510)
--- Des Moines-West Des Moines, IA ($21,040)
--- Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton, PA-NJ ($21,080)
- Job description: Provide personal items to patrons or customers in locker rooms, dressing rooms, or coatrooms.

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Dean Drobot // Shutterstock

#18. Cashiers

Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
- Annual mean salary: $26,220
- #282 lowest pay among all metros
- Employment: 92,310

National
- Annual mean salary: $25,710
- Employment: 3,333,100
- Entry level education requirements: No formal educational credential
- Metros with lowest average pay:
--- Hattiesburg, MS ($19,530)
--- Monroe, LA ($19,780)
--- Albany, GA ($20,320)
- Job description: Receive and disburse money in establishments other than financial institutions. May use electronic scanners, cash registers, or related equipment. May process credit or debit card transactions and validate checks.

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Pressmaster // Shutterstock

#16 (tie). Animal caretakers

Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
- Annual mean salary: $26,160
- #190 lowest pay among all metros
- Employment: 8,280

National
- Annual mean salary: $28,380
- Employment: 193,660
- Entry level education requirements: High school diploma or equivalent
- Metros with lowest average pay:
--- Morristown, TN ($18,810)
--- Greenville, NC ($20,320)
--- Twin Falls, ID ($20,580)
- Job description: Feed, water, groom, bathe, exercise, or otherwise provide care to promote and maintain the well-being of pets and other animals that are not raised for consumption, such as dogs, cats, race horses, ornamental fish or birds, zoo animals, and mice. Work in settings such as kennels, animal shelters, zoos, circuses, and aquariums. May keep records of feedings, treatments, and animals received or discharged. May clean, disinfect, and repair cages, pens, or fish tanks.

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Pixabay

#16 (tie). Lifeguards, ski patrol, and other recreational protective service workers

Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
- Annual mean salary: $26,160
- #136 lowest pay among all metros
- Employment: 3,810

National
- Annual mean salary: $27,050
- Employment: 113,150
- Entry level education requirements: No formal educational credential
- Metros with lowest average pay:
--- Montgomery, AL ($17,440)
--- Athens-Clarke County, GA ($17,790)
--- Sheboygan, WI ($17,940)
- Job description: Monitor recreational areas, such as pools, beaches, or ski slopes, to provide assistance and protection to participants.

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Ryan Everton // Unsplash

#15. Dishwashers

Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
- Annual mean salary: $26,090
- #287 lowest pay among all metros
- Employment: 12,360

National
- Annual mean salary: $25,600
- Employment: 395,660
- Entry level education requirements: No formal educational credential
- Metros with lowest average pay:
--- Anniston-Oxford-Jacksonville, AL ($17,490)
--- Fond du Lac, WI ($18,400)
--- Muncie, IN ($18,550)
- Job description: Clean dishes, kitchen, food preparation equipment, or utensils.

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YAKOBCHUK VIACHESLAV // Shutterstock

#14. Occupational therapy aides

Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
- Annual mean salary: $25,920
- #3 lowest pay among all metros
- Employment: 1,370

National
- Annual mean salary: $34,160
- Employment: 5,630
- Entry level education requirements: High school diploma or equivalent
- Metros with lowest average pay:
--- McAllen-Edinburg-Mission, TX ($21,600)
--- El Paso, TX ($23,810)
--- Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI ($25,920)
- Job description: Under close supervision of an occupational therapist or occupational therapy assistant, perform only delegated, selected, or routine tasks in specific situations. These duties include preparing patient and treatment room.

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Syda Productions // Shutterstock

#13. Medical transcriptionists

Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
- Annual mean salary: $25,460
- #5 lowest pay among all metros
- Employment: 1,830

National
- Annual mean salary: $37,310
- Employment: 49,530
- Entry level education requirements: Postsecondary nondegree award
- Metros with lowest average pay:
--- Blacksburg-Christiansburg-Radford, VA ($24,320)
--- Saginaw, MI ($24,540)
--- Gadsden, AL ($25,240)
- Job description: Transcribe medical reports recorded by physicians and other healthcare practitioners using various electronic devices, covering office visits, emergency room visits, diagnostic imaging studies, operations, chart reviews, and final summaries. Transcribe dictated reports and translate abbreviations into fully understandable form. Edit as necessary and return reports in either printed or electronic form for review and signature, or correction.

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Canva

#12. Pressers, textile, garment, and related materials

Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
- Annual mean salary: $25,260
- #58 lowest pay among all metros
- Employment: 830

National
- Annual mean salary: $26,050
- Employment: 31,980
- Entry level education requirements: No formal educational credential
- Metros with lowest average pay:
--- Raleigh, NC ($18,320)
--- Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, GA ($19,670)
--- Memphis, TN-MS-AR ($19,930)
- Job description: Press or shape articles by hand or machine.

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Dragon Images // Shutterstock

#11. Hosts and hostesses, restaurant, lounge, and coffee shop

Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
- Annual mean salary: $24,970
- #262 lowest pay among all metros
- Employment: 9,760

National
- Annual mean salary: $24,800
- Employment: 316,700
- Entry level education requirements: No formal educational credential
- Metros with lowest average pay:
--- Decatur, AL ($17,940)
--- Gadsden, AL ($18,150)
--- New Bern, NC ($18,190)
- Job description: Welcome patrons, seat them at tables or in lounge, and help ensure quality of facilities and service.

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Pxhere

#10. Fast food and counter workers

Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
- Annual mean salary: $24,840
- #276 lowest pay among all metros
- Employment: 100,660

National
- Annual mean salary: $24,540
- Employment: 3,450,120
- Entry level education requirements: No formal educational credential
- Metros with lowest average pay:
--- Dothan, AL ($18,690)
--- Mobile, AL ($18,750)
--- Montgomery, AL ($18,780)
- Job description: Perform duties such as taking orders and serving food and beverages. Serve customers at counter or from a steam table. May take payment. May prepare food and beverages.

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Finist4 // Shutterstock

#9. Manicurists and pedicurists

Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
- Annual mean salary: $24,630
- #30 lowest pay among all metros
- Employment: 2,000

National
- Annual mean salary: $29,010
- Employment: 73,010
- Entry level education requirements: Postsecondary nondegree award
- Metros with lowest average pay:
--- York-Hanover, PA ($18,440)
--- Fort Wayne, IN ($18,880)
--- Akron, OH ($19,540)
- Job description: Clean and shape customers' fingernails and toenails. May polish or decorate nails.

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Unsplash

#8. Amusement and recreation attendants

Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
- Annual mean salary: $24,460
- #206 lowest pay among all metros
- Employment: 4,720

National
- Annual mean salary: $25,610
- Employment: 248,190
- Entry level education requirements: No formal educational credential
- Metros with lowest average pay:
--- Houma-Thibodaux, LA ($18,040)
--- Lynchburg, VA ($18,600)
--- Auburn-Opelika, AL ($18,650)
- Job description: Perform a variety of attending duties at amusement or recreation facility. May schedule use of recreation facilities, maintain and provide equipment to participants of sporting events or recreational pursuits, or operate amusement concessions and rides.

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aboutsung // Shutterstock

#7. Dining room and cafeteria attendants and bartender helpers

Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
- Annual mean salary: $24,410
- #219 lowest pay among all metros
- Employment: 12,940

National
- Annual mean salary: $26,300
- Employment: 374,940
- Entry level education requirements: No formal educational credential
- Metros with lowest average pay:
--- Monroe, LA ($18,090)
--- Houma-Thibodaux, LA ($18,100)
--- McAllen-Edinburg-Mission, TX ($18,240)
- Job description: Facilitate food service. Clean tables; remove dirty dishes; replace soiled table linens; set tables; replenish supply of clean linens, silverware, glassware, and dishes; supply service bar with food; and serve items such as water, condiments, and coffee to patrons.

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Crew // Wikimedia Commons

#6. Bartenders

Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
- Annual mean salary: $23,790
- #149 lowest pay among all metros
- Employment: 15,470

National
- Annual mean salary: $28,910
- Employment: 486,720
- Entry level education requirements: No formal educational credential
- Metros with lowest average pay:
--- Gadsden, AL ($17,930)
--- Decatur, AL ($17,950)
--- Warner Robins, GA ($18,150)
- Job description: Mix and serve drinks to patrons, directly or through waitstaff.

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Monkey Business Images // Shutterstock

#5. Waiters and waitresses

Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
- Annual mean salary: $23,500
- #164 lowest pay among all metros
- Employment: 51,300

National
- Annual mean salary: $27,470
- Employment: 1,944,240
- Entry level education requirements: No formal educational credential
- Metros with lowest average pay:
--- Brownsville-Harlingen, TX ($17,980)
--- Decatur, AL ($17,980)
--- Shreveport-Bossier City, LA ($18,060)
- Job description: Take orders and serve food and beverages to patrons at tables in dining establishment.

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Canva

#4. Shampooers

Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
- Annual mean salary: $22,850
- #10 lowest pay among all metros
- Employment: 590

National
- Annual mean salary: $24,320
- Employment: 8,310
- Entry level education requirements: No formal educational credential
- Metros with lowest average pay:
--- Reading, PA ($18,650)
--- Pittsburgh, PA ($19,650)
--- North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton, FL ($19,650)
- Job description: Shampoo and rinse customers' hair.

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Daniel Lee // Flickr

#3. Cooks, fast food

Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
- Annual mean salary: $22,530
- #151 lowest pay among all metros
- Employment: 11,130

National
- Annual mean salary: $24,300
- Employment: 544,420
- Entry level education requirements: No formal educational credential
- Metros with lowest average pay:
--- Altoona, PA ($17,660)
--- Johnson City, TN ($17,700)
--- Anniston-Oxford-Jacksonville, AL ($17,900)
- Job description: Prepare and cook food in a fast food restaurant with a limited menu. Duties of these cooks are limited to preparation of a few basic items and normally involve operating large-volume single-purpose cooking equipment.

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Pixabay

#2. Door-to-door sales workers, news and street vendors, and related workers

Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
- Annual mean salary: $22,360
- #1 lowest pay among all metros
- Employment: data not available

National
- Annual mean salary: $36,740
- Employment: 8,360
- Entry level education requirements: No formal educational credential
- Metros with lowest average pay:
--- Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI ($22,360)
--- Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, FL ($22,390)
--- San Antonio-New Braunfels, TX ($26,670)
- Job description: Sell goods or services door-to-door or on the street.

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Antoine Taveneaux // Wikimedia Commons

#1. Gambling dealers

Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
- Annual mean salary: $20,730
- #7 lowest pay among all metros
- Employment: 1,140

National
- Annual mean salary: $26,110
- Employment: 67,330
- Entry level education requirements: High school diploma or equivalent
- Metros with lowest average pay:
--- Lake Charles, LA ($17,840)
--- Davenport-Moline-Rock Island, IA-IL ($18,320)
--- Reno, NV ($18,540)
- Job description: Operate table games. Stand or sit behind table and operate games of chance by dispensing the appropriate number of cards or blocks to players, or operating other gambling equipment. Distribute winnings or collect players' money or chips. May compare the house's hand against players' hands.

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