February 29, 2012

10 surprisingly low-paying jobs.

Including:
Firefighters
Mean annual income: $47,730
Bottom 10% make $23,050...

Reporters and Correspondents
Mean annual income: $43,780
Bottom 10% make $19,970

32 comments:

Paddy O said...

They mention market differences with reporters, but not with a job like firefighters. But there really is a difference between a high fire area and a low fire area. LA County firefighters make very good money, for instance, averaging at about $70,000 per year, plus amazing benefits. When they're on a shift, they work a lot, and during fire season they can work an insane amount (but that gets them overtime too).

That's average, meaning put in a few years and you'll be making great money.

Craig Howard said...

I don't know why that should be surprising. There is a huge number of people competing for employment in both and a limited supply of openings.

It is, though, an interesting juxtaposition of jobs-that-we-thought-paid-better. Almost calls for some Drudge pictures.

I must add that the anti-spam words are so unrecognizable as to be detrimental to any comments at all. Or, maybe, my sight's leaving.

BladeDoc said...

Most firefighter jobs in my experience have a shift plan like 24 on 36 off. Every fireman I've ever met has at least one job or small business on the side where they make their real money and just use the firefighter gig for the benefits and pension.

Sigivald said...

The "expectations" Forbes has are... weird.

Why would you "expect" a mortician to make over $50k/yr (nationwide average)?

Or "the guy who reads stuff on the radio"?

I'm not surprised he makes under $50k, I'm surprised he makes as much as they say he does.

edutcher said...

Help desk jobs are often entry level for geeks, so, yeah, you're not going to get rich.

As for legislators, how many come in poor and leave rich?

Larry J said...

Given that a high percentage of journalists are worthless, I think most of them are overpaid.

garage mahal said...

Wow. Here I thought according to conservatives firefighters lived in mansions and yachts. They're never wrong, so there must be some sort of explanation for this.

rhhardin said...

Reporters are overpaid.

chickenlittle said...

garage mahal said...
Wow. Here I thought according to conservatives firefighters lived in mansions and yachts.

You sound befuddled.

Revenant said...

Here I thought according to conservatives firefighters lived in mansions and yachts.

You were wrong.

They're never wrong, so there must be some sort of explanation for this.

See above. :)

O2BNAZ said...

A fire fighter in California makes nearly $70,000 and one in Arizona makes $43,000 New Jersey pays over $71,000

National:
http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_nat.htm
By State:
http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oessrcst.htm

traditionalguy said...

The Firefighters have a large labor pool of recent military retirees to pay a low wage starting out. The Vets like being around multi-million dollar machines.

Once the EMT course and other diplomas come in, then the pay doubles.

And the Fireman has two 24 hour days a week, sleeping at the Firehouse. That leaves 5 days a week do do other work which most do.

As for reporter's salaries, the News business has been sinking fast since the internet came to town.

mesquito said...

Mesquitoville has about half a dozen firefighters, none of whom are paid. Does that lower the mean?

Peter said...

Here on Long Island most of the police officers earn in excess of $100K per year. Sometimes well in excess. On the other hand, despite a combined population of 2.7 million in Nassau and Suffolk counties, all the firefighters are volunteers.

madAsHell said...

My son is a volunteer fire fighter. He lives at the fire station (no rent), and gets paid $11/hour when the truck rolls. He's in a small rural community.

He is applying for jobs in the big city where they pay $70,000 - $80,000 per year.

There are thousands of volunteer firefighters, and I'm sure they skew the data here.

John Lynch said...

I don't get it. I wasn't surprised.

cassandra lite said...

AA, you think it's "surprising" that correspondents are paid so little? Really? If so, it's clear that you've never actually written on assignment for (even) a major publication. Aside from Vanity Fair--which, if factored into the average, skews it wildly--so-called correspondents are paid on par with lettuce pickers. Your use of "surprising" is causing me to use, for the first time in published writing (millions of words, LMAO.

acm said...

Yeah, I don't know why anyone would expect embalmers (who are not called morticians, btw) to make all that much. Don't get me wrong; it's great work. Part of the reason it's great work is that it only takes a two-year degree, but affords you a similar salary to jobs that require four years or better. The community college here in my city houses a mortuary school, and it's not a bad deal, all things considered. Lots of embalmers work that for a few and then go for their funeral director's license, which pays better still.

Ken said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ken said...

Who thinks $47,760 and $43,780 is low pay? The median income in the US in 2010 was $49,445. I made (a lot) less than this for the majority of my life and think, that while it's not awesome, it's decent and average.

Also, I'm not surprised that the bottom 10% of any occupation is low pay. Why are you?

Original Mike said...

I think we should spread the wealth around. Take half of the reporter's salary and give it to the firefighters. Because they deserve it more.

That's what we do on Planet Obama, right?

sleepless nights said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
DADvocate said...

Forbes doesn't seem to understand the number of firefighters employed in small towns that don't make squat, but it's about as good as they can do in a small town, especially the benefits.

I've known that reporters didn't make any money since I was in high school. Being on the school newspaper staff, my teacher tried to convince me to major in journalism in college. I researched the pay a little, and had an uncle that worked at a medium size newspaper. Not worth it.

For a short while, I worked at the Maysville, KY newspaper in advertising years later. Again, Forbes underestimates how many people work at small papers the barely pay above minimum wage. And, the best money is in advertising. As a computer programmer now, I probably make more than the publisher of most small papers.

Surgical technicians surprises me a little.

Nora said...

Firefighters make up for the low salaries on the back end -- the pensions and bennies are pretty decent, and if you start young, stay healthy, and get your 25 years in, you can retire relatively young and start a second career while collecting a pension. Not that I begrudge firemen their pensions and bennies.

The cops, that's another story...freakin' bunch of meter maids with guns...

Alex said...

As usual a media idiot doesn't understand the basic laws of supply and demand.

John Lynch said...

What Ken said- all of these jobs produce median household income for the US. So, actually, they provide quite a good living.

I make around half what these "low paying" jobs pay, so I wonder about the perspective of whoever wrote the article.

bagoh20 said...

The bottom 10% of business owners are the lowest paid people in the country - some living off of negative 7 figures.

Molly said...

Imagine you are a person with a high school diploma and no experience or technical training such as auto mechanics. Imagine you are looking at careers in local government (such as firefighting).

Go to this list and tell me, which career you would choose? http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/naics4_999300.htm#33-0000

Also, notice that the raw data are per hour wages, and the "annual income" numbers are artificially calculated by multiplying wage times 2080 hours per year (40 hours a week for 52 weeks).

My ex-neighbor who was a fire fighter/ambulance driver thought the most important things for him were: lots of overtime (at time and a half) and guaranteed benefits retirement plan after 30 years (for him at age 52 or so). (Other commenters have made this point.)

David said...

Why isn't U.S. Army Private on the list?

Because we are not surprised?

You won't find any Washington jobs on that list. Except perhaps low level Congressional aides. Exploitation is ok if you have been elected to Congress.

ElPresidenteCastro said...

One reason for the low mean salary for fire fighters is that a large percentage do not make it past the first year. It is a physically demanding, stressful job that requires a great deal of learning. Many folks can't take the demands of getting up in the middle of the night, dealing with medical trauma, or passing a number of required tests. Many areas have moved to require Firefighter/Paramedic certification that raises the bar still further. Often you can get a job with the expectation of passing your EMT-P testing. Passage rates nationally are about 50%.

george said...

What I take from those figures is that reporters are massively overpaid. How hard is it to find a partisan hack who is willing to lie to people? That seems to be the only qualification that is required these days.

Joe said...

None of these surprised me.