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The 10 Lowest-Paid Jobs in America

Danielle Kurtzleben

Here's another reason to start leaving bigger tips: the Labor Department's latest data on the how much American workers are paid.

[ALSO: The 10 Highest Paid Jobs in America]

Food service workers and their colleagues at bars and restaurants dominate the list of the lowest-paid professions, taking up six of the top 10 spots. Still, the people who shampoo your hair at the local salon take the top spot, at $18,600 per year. That's not much to live on, and if one of those workers is a single parent, it's not far above the poverty line, at around $15,800 for a single parent, according to the Census Bureau.

[SEE: The 10 Most Overpaid Jobs]

Below, the 10 lowest-paid workers as measured by average annual pay, according to Labor Department data from 2012:

Occupation Average Annual Wage
Shampooers $18,600
Combined Food Preparation and Serving Workers $18,720
Fast Food Cooks $18,780
Dishwashers $18,930
Counter Attendants, Cafeteria, Food Concession, and Coffee Shop $19,430
Hosts and Hostesses, Restaurants, Lounge and Coffee Shop $19,570
Dining Room and Cafeteria Attendants and Bartender Helpers $19,690
Farm Workers and Laborers, Crop, Nursery, and Greenhouse $19,990
Amusement and Recreation Attendants $20,020
Ushers, Lobby Attendants, and Ticket Takers $20,320

[SEE: The 10 Most Underpaid Jobs]

How does that stack up? All of these jobs have less than half the average pay for all occupations, which is $45,790. And the highest-paid workers in America, anesthesiologists, average more than 12 times the annual pay of the lowest-paid workers, shampooers.

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