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Seven of the Ten Lowest Paying Jobs Are in Food

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Hillary Dixler Canavan is Eater's restaurant editor and the author of the publication's debut book, Eater: 100 Essential Restaurant Recipes From the Authority on Where to Eat and Why It Matters (Abrams, September 2023). Her work focuses on dining trends and the people changing the industry — and scouting the next hot restaurant you need to try on Eater's annual Best New Restaurant list.

Here's a list of the ten lowest paid jobs in America compiled by U.S. News & World Report using Labor Department statistics. While salon shampooers have the smallest check at roughly $18,720 a year, seven of the ten lowest paid jobs are in the food industry. The wages for jobs ranging from dishwasher to hostess to fast food cooks could account for morale issues: no industry jobs are on the 2013 CareerBliss list of happiest jobs. (Executive Chef ranked #2 on the list last year, but there's a big difference in income there.) At a time when a pastor refused to tip 18% and New York City doesn't yet require paid sick leave for restaurant workers, this year's lowest paid jobs list is just another reminder of how hard it can be to make a living in the restaurant industry.

The 10 Lowest Paid Jobs In America

10. Ushers, Lobby Attendants, and Ticket Takers ($20,320)
9. Amusement and Recreation Attendants ($20,020)
8. Farm Workers and Laborers, Crop, Nursery, and Greenhouse ($19,990)
7. Dining Room and Cafeteria Attendants and Bartender Helpers ($19,690)
6. Hosts and Hostesses, Restaurants, Lounge and Coffee Shop ($19,570)
5. Counter Attendants, Cafeteria, Food Concession, and Coffee Shop ($19,430)
4. Dishwashers ($18,930)
3. Fast Food Cooks ($18,780)
2. Combined Food Preparation and Serving Workers ($18,720)
1. Shampooers ($18,600)

· The 10 Lowest-Paid Jobs in America [USNWR via HuffPo]
· All Listicles Coverage on Eater [-E-]