The study, released Tuesday from, a new job site, evaluates 200 professions to determine the best and worst according to five criteria inherent to every job: environment, income, employment outlook, physical demands and stress.

The findings were compiled by Les Krantz, author of “Jobs Rated Almanac,” and are based on data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Census Bureau, as well as studies from trade associations and Mr. Krantz’s own expertise.

The Best and Worst Jobs

Of 200 Jobs studied, these came out on top — and at the bottom:

The Best The Worst
1. Mathematician 200. Lumberjack
2. Actuary 199. Dairy Farmer
3. Statistician 198. Taxi Driver
4. Biologist 197. Seaman
5. Software Engineer 196. EMT
6. Computer Systems Analyst 195. Roofer
7. Historian 194. Garbage Collector
8. Sociologist 193. Welder
9. Industrial Designer 192. Roustabout
10. Accountant 191. Ironworker
11. Economist 190. Construction Worker
12. Philosopher 189. Mail Carrier
13. Physicist 188. Sheet Metal Worker
14. Parole Officer 187. Auto Mechanic
15. Meteorologist 186. Butcher
16. Medical Lab Technician 185. Nuclear Decontamination Tech
17. Paralegal Assistant 184. Nurse (LN)
18. Computer Programmer 183. Painter
19. Motion Picture Editor 182. Child Care Worker
20. Astronomer 181. Firefighter

According to the study, mathematicians fared best in part because they typically work in favorable conditions — indoors and in places free of toxic fumes or noise — unlike those toward the bottom of the list like sewage-plant operator, painter and bricklayer. They also aren’t expected to do any heavy lifting, crawling or crouching — attributes associated with occupations such as firefighter, auto mechanic and plumber.

The study also considers pay, which was determined by measuring each job’s median income and growth potential. Mathematicians’ annual income was pegged at $94,160, but Ms. Courter, 38, says her salary exceeds that amount.

According to that rating, my profession is one of the best 🙂

Source: Wall Street Journal


6 thoughts on “The Best and Worst Jobs in the US

  1. ya, software engineers and computer programmers mostly work in favourable conditions…but the lot I’m acquainted with aren’t exactly a happy bunch :-p most of them started out liking their jobs…but over time, they’re worn out by stressful demands, deadlines & whatnot… poor creatures…but they still stuck with their field of work.

  2. Man it definitely sucks to be a dairy farmer.. but as for being a nurse.. it still is a steady job… so I see a lot of people going for that job… I think this list is a subjective thing though.

  3. Ayumikat,

    Indeed, those jobs can be stressful at times. Some people choose alternative route in programming: teaching. One of my teachers said that it was quite a stressful job, so she started teaching at a university and was very happy with her work 🙂

    – – –


    Steadiness is only one of the factors contributing to the overall utility of a job. Yes, nurses are in high demand, but you really have to know what being a nurse entails. Shadowing one or volunteering in a hospital would give you a nice picture.

    As for subjectivity of the list, I encourage you to look at their methods 🙂 The ratings are based on several sources, including U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Census Bureau.

    – – –


    lol Accounting is a very good example. I found this class the most boring of all my college coursework. However, I saw some people in that class who were very excited about it. They were eager to discuss the topics and ask questions. Perhaps, it was because the subject deals with money and most of the people in that class were business majors…

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