100 least popular jobs in America

Written by:
May 4, 2021
Rawpixel.com // Shutterstock

100 least popular jobs in America

Spend enough time watching the Discovery Channel and you’ll eventually run into Mike Rowe doing one stomach-churning task after the other on the hit TV show “Dirty Jobs.” The Baltimore-born host is also known for his CNN series “Somebody’s Gotta Do It,” whose title underscores the fact that even the most menial and unsavory jobs serve important functions that need to be carried out by a small workforce.

The reasons a certain field might not contain very many many professionals vary widely. Certain positions are only held by a small number due to their unpleasant nature. The jobs on this list are individually held by about 7,500 people or less, for reasons including jobs limited to particular geographic locations, requiring extensive education, or revolving around a niche and specialized craft.

Using data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics from May 2020 (released March 30, 2021), Stacker ranked the 100 least popular jobs in America by total employment. Only detailed job categories were included in the dataset. Every position’s number of total workers in the United States is listed alongside its average annual wage and average hourly wage, where each of those figures is available.

Read on to see if you hold one of the least popular jobs in the nation.

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1 / 100
Franco Francisco Maria // Shutterstock

#100. Parking Enforcement Workers

- Number employed: 7,560
- Annual mean wage: $44,870 (20.3% below mean for all occupations)
- Median hourly wage: $20.23

2 / 100
Gorodenkoff // Shutterstock

#99. Epidemiologists

- Number employed: 7,500
- Annual mean wage: $83,620 (48.5% above mean for all occupations)
- Median hourly wage: $35.84

3 / 100
Lukasz Z // Shutterstock

#98. Gambling and Sports Book Writers and Runners

- Number employed: 7,500
- Annual mean wage: $27,130 (51.8% below mean for all occupations)
- Median hourly wage: $12.13

4 / 100
Igor Kardasov // Shutterstock

#97. Ship Engineers

- Number employed: 7,480
- Annual mean wage: $81,110 (44.0% above mean for all occupations)
- Median hourly wage: $36.53

5 / 100
Mark Wolfe // Wikimedia Commons

#96. Traffic Technicians

- Number employed: 7,430
- Annual mean wage: $53,140 (5.6% below mean for all occupations)
- Median hourly wage: $22.98

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6 / 100
Dean Drobot // Shutterstock

#95. Shoe and Leather Workers and Repairers

- Number employed: 7,380
- Annual mean wage: $31,480 (44.1% below mean for all occupations)
- Median hourly wage: $14.69

7 / 100
Artur Didyk // Shutterstock

#94. Dancers

- Number employed: 7,370
- Annual mean wage: -$04 (100.0% below mean for all occupations)
- Median hourly wage: $18.58

8 / 100
Monkey Business Images // Shutterstock

#93. Exercise Physiologists

- Number employed: 7,330
- Annual mean wage: $54,020 (4.1% below mean for all occupations)
- Median hourly wage: $24.17

9 / 100
MIND AND I // Shutterstock

#92. Woodworkers, All Other

- Number employed: 7,300
- Annual mean wage: $35,710 (36.6% below mean for all occupations)
- Median hourly wage: $16.17

10 / 100
moxumbic // Shutterstock

#91. Textile Bleaching and Dyeing Machine Operators and Tenders

- Number employed: 7,260
- Annual mean wage: $31,600 (43.9% below mean for all occupations)
- Median hourly wage: $14.55

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11 / 100
APChanel // Shutterstock

#90. Signal and Track Switch Repairers

- Number employed: 7,250
- Annual mean wage: $75,970 (34.9% above mean for all occupations)
- Median hourly wage: $36.64

12 / 100
Sheila Fitzgerald // Shutterstock

#89. Fish and Game Wardens

- Number employed: 7,230
- Annual mean wage: $57,810 (2.7% above mean for all occupations)
- Median hourly wage: $27.90

13 / 100
Regan Vercruysse // Wikimedia Commons

#88. Artists and Related Workers, All Other

- Number employed: 7,220
- Annual mean wage: $69,650 (23.7% above mean for all occupations)
- Median hourly wage: $31.63

14 / 100
Fotangel // Shutterstock

#87. Pourers and Casters, Metal

- Number employed: 7,200
- Annual mean wage: $42,440 (24.6% below mean for all occupations)
- Median hourly wage: $19.31

15 / 100
Colin Groves // Wikimedia Commons

#86. Anthropologists and Archeologists

- Number employed: 7,180
- Annual mean wage: $69,960 (24.2% above mean for all occupations)
- Median hourly wage: $31.79

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16 / 100
Suzanne M. Day // Wikimedia Commons

#85. Nurse Midwives

- Number employed: 7,120
- Annual mean wage: $115,540 (105.2% above mean for all occupations)
- Median hourly wage: $53.43

17 / 100
McLittle Stock // Shutterstock

#84. Desktop Publishers

- Number employed: 7,090
- Annual mean wage: $50,600 (10.1% below mean for all occupations)
- Median hourly wage: $22.86

18 / 100
nioloxs // Shutterstock

#83. Musical Instrument Repairers and Tuners

- Number employed: 7,070
- Annual mean wage: $39,770 (29.4% below mean for all occupations)
- Median hourly wage: $17.70

19 / 100
MMCedu // Wikimedia Commons

#82. Materials Scientists

- Number employed: 6,930
- Annual mean wage: $104,450 (85.5% above mean for all occupations)
- Median hourly wage: $47.82

20 / 100
Canva

#81. Architecture Teachers, Postsecondary

- Number employed: 6,910
- Annual mean wage: $100,820 (79.0% above mean for all occupations)
- Median hourly wage: -$4.00

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21 / 100
Andrey_Popov // Shutterstock

#80. Proofreaders and Copy Markers

- Number employed: 6,610
- Annual mean wage: $44,670 (20.7% below mean for all occupations)
- Median hourly wage: $19.78

22 / 100
Eric Lockwood // U.S. Navy

#79. Archivists

- Number employed: 6,550
- Annual mean wage: $61,210 (8.7% above mean for all occupations)
- Median hourly wage: $27.29

23 / 100
angellodeco // Shutterstock

#78. Life Scientists, All Other

- Number employed: 6,540
- Annual mean wage: $92,170 (63.7% above mean for all occupations)
- Median hourly wage: $39.42

24 / 100
YCC Volunteers // Wikimedia Commons

#77. Forest and Conservation Workers

- Number employed: 6,490
- Annual mean wage: $33,520 (40.5% below mean for all occupations)
- Median hourly wage: $14.73

25 / 100
Joevilliers // Wikimedia Commons

#76. Agricultural Workers, All Other

- Number employed: 6,460
- Annual mean wage: $34,330 (39.0% below mean for all occupations)
- Median hourly wage: $14.49

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26 / 100
King Ropes Access // Shutterstock

#75. Mining and Geological Engineers, Including Mining Safety Engineers

- Number employed: 6,270
- Annual mean wage: $100,140 (77.8% above mean for all occupations)
- Median hourly wage: $45.10

27 / 100
U.S. Geological Survey // Wikimedia Commons

#74. Hydrologists

- Number employed: 6,170
- Annual mean wage: $90,150 (60.1% above mean for all occupations)
- Median hourly wage: $40.41

28 / 100
Gecko Studio // Shutterstock

#73. Nuclear Technicians

- Number employed: 6,160
- Annual mean wage: $83,810 (48.8% above mean for all occupations)
- Median hourly wage: $40.48

29 / 100
ImYanis // Shutterstock

#72. Correspondence Clerks

- Number employed: 6,150
- Annual mean wage: $40,070 (28.8% below mean for all occupations)
- Median hourly wage: $18.46

30 / 100
ivan_kislitsin // Shutterstock

#71. Tool Grinders, Filers, and Sharpeners

- Number employed: 6,080
- Annual mean wage: $43,670 (22.4% below mean for all occupations)
- Median hourly wage: $19.74

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31 / 100
World Travel & Tourism Council // Wikimedia Commons

#70. Political Scientists

- Number employed: 6,010
- Annual mean wage: $124,100 (120.4% above mean for all occupations)
- Median hourly wage: $60.27

32 / 100
A StockStudio // Shutterstock

#69. Environmental Science Teachers, Postsecondary

- Number employed: 5,860
- Annual mean wage: $94,520 (67.9% above mean for all occupations)
- Median hourly wage: unavailable

33 / 100
Jordi C // Shutterstock

#68. Wind Turbine Service Technicians

- Number employed: 5,860
- Annual mean wage: $59,340 (5.4% above mean for all occupations)
- Median hourly wage: $27.03

34 / 100
sabthai // Shutterstock

#67. Arbitrators, Mediators, and Conciliators

- Number employed: 5,810
- Annual mean wage: $76,440 (35.7% above mean for all occupations)
- Median hourly wage: $31.79

35 / 100
Jorge Royan // Wikimedia Commons

#66. Costume Attendants

- Number employed: 5,750
- Annual mean wage: $51,780 (8.0% below mean for all occupations)
- Median hourly wage: $20.63

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36 / 100
USDA // Wikimedia Commons

#65. Farmers, Ranchers, and Other Agricultural Managers

- Number employed: 5,670
- Annual mean wage: $76,810 (36.4% above mean for all occupations)
- Median hourly wage: $32.73

37 / 100
Kzenon // Shutterstock

#64. Occupational Therapy Aides

- Number employed: 5,630
- Annual mean wage: $34,160 (39.3% below mean for all occupations)
- Median hourly wage: $14.51

38 / 100
Prostock-studio // Shutterstock

#63. Dentists, All Other Specialists

- Number employed: 5,610
- Annual mean wage: $194,930 (246.2% above mean for all occupations)
- Median hourly wage: $88.12

39 / 100
Mr Boiko Oleg // Shutterstock

#62. Anthropology and Archeology Teachers, Postsecondary

- Number employed: 5,590
- Annual mean wage: $98,740 (75.4% above mean for all occupations)
- Median hourly wage: unavailable

40 / 100
Acroterion // Wikimedia Commons

#61. Nuclear Power Reactor Operators

- Number employed: 5,310
- Annual mean wage: $104,470 (85.5% above mean for all occupations)
- Median hourly wage: $50.02

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41 / 100
KarepaStock // Shutterstock

#60. Floor Sanders and Finishers

- Number employed: 5,100
- Annual mean wage: $41,400 (26.5% below mean for all occupations)
- Median hourly wage: $18.68

42 / 100
BalanceFormCreative // Shutterstock

#59. Orthodontists

- Number employed: 5,040
- Annual mean wage: $237,990 (322.6% above mean for all occupations)
- Median hourly wage: unavailable

43 / 100
klikkipetra // Shutterstock

#58. Fallers

- Number employed: 4,820
- Annual mean wage: $49,520 (12.1% below mean for all occupations)
- Median hourly wage: $20.76

44 / 100
Photosite // Shutterstock

#57. Fabric and Apparel Patternmakers

- Number employed: 4,670
- Annual mean wage: $57,880 (2.8% above mean for all occupations)
- Median hourly wage: $23.88

45 / 100
xuanhuongho // Shutterstock

#56. Rock Splitters, Quarry

- Number employed: 4,640
- Annual mean wage: $38,430 (31.8% below mean for all occupations)
- Median hourly wage: $17.85

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46 / 100
LDprod // Shutterstock

#55. Telephone Operators

- Number employed: 4,630
- Annual mean wage: $39,340 (30.1% below mean for all occupations)
- Median hourly wage: $18.13

47 / 100
Viewfoto studio // Shutterstock

#54. Rail Yard Engineers, Dinkey Operators, and Hostlers

- Number employed: 4,580
- Annual mean wage: $55,200 (2.0% below mean for all occupations)
- Median hourly wage: $24.86

48 / 100
elmar gubisch // Shutterstock

#53. Hoist and Winch Operators

- Number employed: 4,460
- Annual mean wage: $62,730 (11.4% above mean for all occupations)
- Median hourly wage: $30.10

49 / 100
stockstation // Shutterstock

#52. Library Science Teachers, Postsecondary

- Number employed: 4,230
- Annual mean wage: $77,560 (37.7% above mean for all occupations)
- Median hourly wage: unavailable

50 / 100
Ryan G. Wilbe // Wikimedia Commons

#51. Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons

- Number employed: 4,120
- Annual mean wage: $234,990 (317.3% above mean for all occupations)
- Median hourly wage: unavailable

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51 / 100
Tulane Public Relations // Wikimedia Commons

#50. Craft Artists

- Number employed: 4,090
- Annual mean wage: $38,260 (32.1% below mean for all occupations)
- Median hourly wage: $16.92

52 / 100
Nina Hale // Wikimedia Commons

#49. Shoe Machine Operators and Tenders

- Number employed: 4,080
- Annual mean wage: $31,430 (44.2% below mean for all occupations)
- Median hourly wage: $14.72

53 / 100
Matthäus Wander // Wikimedia Commons

#48. Entertainment Attendants and Related Workers, All Other

- Number employed: 3,900
- Annual mean wage: $32,580 (42.1% below mean for all occupations)
- Median hourly wage: $13.09

54 / 100
Felipe Mahecha // Shutterstock

#47. Embalmers

- Number employed: 3,860
- Annual mean wage: $50,220 (10.8% below mean for all occupations)
- Median hourly wage: $22.90

55 / 100
V.Zhytkov // Shutterstock

#46. Logging Workers, All Other

- Number employed: 3,850
- Annual mean wage: $41,830 (25.7% below mean for all occupations)
- Median hourly wage: $19.91

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56 / 100
Igor Pavlenko // Shutterstock

#45. Pile Driver Operators

- Number employed: 3,820
- Annual mean wage: $71,880 (27.7% above mean for all occupations)
- Median hourly wage: $30.47

57 / 100
2p2play // Shutterstock

#44. Transit and Railroad Police

- Number employed: 3,800
- Annual mean wage: $71,000 (26.1% above mean for all occupations)
- Median hourly wage: $34.89

58 / 100
Aleksandar Malivuk // Shutterstock

#43. Gas Compressor and Gas Pumping Station Operators

- Number employed: 3,800
- Annual mean wage: $63,770 (13.2% above mean for all occupations)
- Median hourly wage: $32.62

59 / 100
GagliardiPhotography // Shutterstock

#42. Geography Teachers, Postsecondary

- Number employed: 3,720
- Annual mean wage: $87,160 (54.8% above mean for all occupations)
- Median hourly wage: unavailable

60 / 100
Gukzilla // Shutterstock

#41. Choreographers

- Number employed: 3,580
- Annual mean wage: $52,000 (7.7% below mean for all occupations)
- Median hourly wage: $21.00

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61 / 100
Mark Agnor // Shutterstock

#40. Loading and Moving Machine Operators, Underground Mining

- Number employed: 3,520
- Annual mean wage: $56,100 (0.4% below mean for all occupations)
- Median hourly wage: $27.23

62 / 100
Andrew McKaskle // Wikimedia Commons

#39. Commercial Divers

- Number employed: 3,460
- Annual mean wage: $71,850 (27.6% above mean for all occupations)
- Median hourly wage: $26.35

63 / 100
buffaloboy2513 // Shutterstock

#38. Sewers, Hand

- Number employed: 3,410
- Annual mean wage: $30,790 (45.3% below mean for all occupations)
- Median hourly wage: $14.42

64 / 100
enmyo // Shutterstock

#37. Model Makers, Metal and Plastic

- Number employed: 3,400
- Annual mean wage: $58,180 (3.3% above mean for all occupations)
- Median hourly wage: $26.33

65 / 100
TFoxFoto // Shutterstock

#36. Log Graders and Scalers

- Number employed: 3,390
- Annual mean wage: $38,940 (30.8% below mean for all occupations)
- Median hourly wage: $17.74

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66 / 100
PRESSLAB // Shutterstock

#35. Camera and Photographic Equipment Repairers

- Number employed: 3,320
- Annual mean wage: $42,740 (24.1% below mean for all occupations)
- Median hourly wage: $19.39

67 / 100
Studio Romantic // Shutterstock

#34. Gambling Managers

- Number employed: 3,240
- Annual mean wage: $85,440 (51.7% above mean for all occupations)
- Median hourly wage: $36.28

68 / 100
Marcin Wichary // Wikimedia Commons

#33. Bridge and Lock Tenders

- Number employed: 3,080
- Annual mean wage: $49,610 (11.9% below mean for all occupations)
- Median hourly wage: $25.16

69 / 100
ESB Basic // Shutterstock

#32. Communications Equipment Operators, All Other

- Number employed: 3,070
- Annual mean wage: $49,260 (12.5% below mean for all occupations)
- Median hourly wage: $22.44

70 / 100
U.S. Navy // Wikimedia Commons

#31. Terrazzo Workers and Finishers

- Number employed: 2,970
- Annual mean wage: $56,440 (0.2% above mean for all occupations)
- Median hourly wage: $24.73

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71 / 100
Joseph Sohm // Shutterstock

#30. Forest Fire Inspectors and Prevention Specialists

- Number employed: 2,900
- Annual mean wage: $52,130 (7.4% below mean for all occupations)
- Median hourly wage: $20.26

72 / 100
K303 // Shutterstock

#29. Manufactured Building and Mobile Home Installers

- Number employed: 2,900
- Annual mean wage: $36,360 (35.4% below mean for all occupations)
- Median hourly wage: $16.89

73 / 100
Zakhar Mar // Shutterstock

#28. Paperhangers

- Number employed: 2,820
- Annual mean wage: $49,820 (11.5% below mean for all occupations)
- Median hourly wage: $20.94

74 / 100
Charlie Brewer // Wikimedia Commons

#27. Makeup Artists, Theatrical and Performance

- Number employed: 2,780
- Annual mean wage: $99,990 (77.6% above mean for all occupations)
- Median hourly wage: $51.40

75 / 100
Dario Lo Presti // Shutterstock

#26. Historians

- Number employed: 2,770
- Annual mean wage: $68,400 (21.5% above mean for all occupations)
- Median hourly wage: $30.33

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76 / 100
Pressmaster // Shutterstock

#25. Animal Scientists

- Number employed: 2,680
- Annual mean wage: $74,540 (32.4% above mean for all occupations)
- Median hourly wage: $30.52

77 / 100
BigBlues // Shutterstock

#24. Sociologists

- Number employed: 2,470
- Annual mean wage: $93,420 (65.9% above mean for all occupations)
- Median hourly wage: $41.40

78 / 100
Erickson Stock // Shutterstock

#23. Mathematicians

- Number employed: 2,460
- Annual mean wage: $112,530 (99.8% above mean for all occupations)
- Median hourly wage: $53.30

79 / 100
Gitanna // Shutterstock

#22. Watch and Clock Repairers

- Number employed: 2,430
- Annual mean wage: $48,560 (13.8% below mean for all occupations)
- Median hourly wage: $21.77

80 / 100
R_Boe // Shutterstock

#21. Patternmakers, Metal and Plastic

- Number employed: 2,400
- Annual mean wage: $49,570 (12.0% below mean for all occupations)
- Median hourly wage: $23.16

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81 / 100
Quang nguyen vinh // Shutterstock

#20. Motorboat Operators

- Number employed: 2,380
- Annual mean wage: $53,500 (5.0% below mean for all occupations)
- Median hourly wage: $26.88

82 / 100
Tinxi // Shutterstock

#19. Models

- Number employed: 2,350
- Annual mean wage: $54,050 (4.0% below mean for all occupations)
- Median hourly wage: $15.34

83 / 100
Kemberly Groue // U.S. Air Force

#18. Genetic Counselors

- Number employed: 2,280
- Annual mean wage: $89,710 (59.3% above mean for all occupations)
- Median hourly wage: $41.20

84 / 100
LStockStudio // Shutterstock

#17. Family and Consumer Sciences Teachers, Postsecondary

- Number employed: 2,270
- Annual mean wage: $81,580 (44.9% above mean for all occupations)
- Median hourly wage: unavailable

85 / 100
Alexander Dinaev // Shutterstock

#16. Motion Picture Projectionists

- Number employed: 2,270
- Annual mean wage: $34,380 (38.9% below mean for all occupations)
- Median hourly wage: $13.22

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86 / 100
ENERGY.GOV // Wikimedia Commons

#15. Roof Bolters, Mining

- Number employed: 2,080
- Annual mean wage: $61,900 (9.9% above mean for all occupations)
- Median hourly wage: $29.42

87 / 100
Akimov Igor // Shutterstock

#14. Astronomers

- Number employed: 1,910
- Annual mean wage: $126,250 (124.2% above mean for all occupations)
- Median hourly wage: $57.56

88 / 100
Dominicus Johannes Bergsma // Wikimedia Commons

#13. Dredge Operators

- Number employed: 1,750
- Annual mean wage: $53,790 (4.5% below mean for all occupations)
- Median hourly wage: $23.66

89 / 100
MTA New York City Transit // Wikimedia Commons

#12. Rail Transportation Workers, All Other

- Number employed: 1,540
- Annual mean wage: $54,670 (2.9% below mean for all occupations)
- Median hourly wage: $23.06

90 / 100
Jacob Lund // Shutterstock

#11. Forestry and Conservation Science Teachers, Postsecondary

- Number employed: 1,460
- Annual mean wage: $92,420 (64.1% above mean for all occupations)
- Median hourly wage: unavailable

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91 / 100
Scott Prokop // Shutterstock

#10. Geographers

- Number employed: 1,450
- Annual mean wage: $85,620 (52.1% above mean for all occupations)
- Median hourly wage: $41.07

92 / 100
Jialiang Gao // Wikimedia Commons

#9. Agricultural Engineers

- Number employed: 1,440
- Annual mean wage: $101,620 (80.5% above mean for all occupations)
- Median hourly wage: $40.58

93 / 100
Wikijunkie // Wikimedia Commons

#8. Timing Device Assemblers and Adjusters

- Number employed: 1,000
- Annual mean wage: $39,430 (30.0% below mean for all occupations)
- Median hourly wage: $17.39

94 / 100
otsphoto // Shutterstock

#7. Animal Breeders

- Number employed: 920
- Annual mean wage: $43,930 (22.0% below mean for all occupations)
- Median hourly wage: $19.60

95 / 100
nikkytok // Shutterstock

#6. Model Makers, Wood

- Number employed: 800
- Annual mean wage: $62,600 (11.2% above mean for all occupations)
- Median hourly wage: $30.79

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96 / 100
Pressmaster // Shutterstock

#5. Industrial-Organizational Psychologists

- Number employed: 780
- Annual mean wage: $112,690 (100.1% above mean for all occupations)
- Median hourly wage: $46.28

97 / 100
Shestakov Dmytro // Shutterstock

#4. Refractory Materials Repairers, Except Brickmasons

- Number employed: 760
- Annual mean wage: $55,080 (2.2% below mean for all occupations)
- Median hourly wage: $26.26

98 / 100
YAKOBCHUK VIACHESLAV // Shutterstock

#3. Prosthodontists

- Number employed: 530
- Annual mean wage: $214,870 (281.6% above mean for all occupations)
- Median hourly wage: unavailable

99 / 100
goodluz // Shutterstock

#2. Cooks, Private Household

- Number employed: 320
- Annual mean wage: $46,810 (16.9% below mean for all occupations)
- Median hourly wage: $15.69

100 / 100
ellinnur bakarudin // Shutterstock

#1. Patternmakers, Wood

- Number employed: 190
- Annual mean wage: $60,750 (7.9% above mean for all occupations)
- Median hourly wage: $31.31

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