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5 best and worst jobs for 2016


The 21st century has turned out to be a lousy time for a few careers.

Technology has had tremendous impact on the way Americans live and work, and as a result some jobs are feeling the brunt. On the other hand, the technology sector's growth has also prompted the creation of a few new professions that offer both income growth and career opportunities.

The five best and worst jobs for 2016 are separated by vast differences in wage and hiring growth, according to a new report from CareerCast, which examined criteria such as income, stress and hiring rates for about 200 professions. The best careers share a common trait beyond high income growth and opportunity: They also require specialized training, although not all require an advanced degree.

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The worst jobs may be easy to gain a foothold in, but declining demand for those professions may make them dead-end careers.

Money may be a tempting reason to pursue a profession, but job experts caution that satisfaction is also important, such as the desire to make a difference in the world. But although some of the worst jobs for 2016 may appeal to people looking to make a difference in the world, they also come with shrinking job opportunities, stress and, in many cases, low pay.

Read on to learn about the five best and worst jobs for 2016.

Best: Diagnostic medical sonographer, $62,540


As the No. 5 best job on the list, diagnostic medical sonography offers a strong growth outlook and above-average earnings. The job may appeal to some Americans interested in health care but who don't have their bachelor's degrees because most workers in this career have an associate's degree. Some also have professional certification.

People in this role use imaging equipment to produce pictures of inside a patient's body, such as when an expectant mother gets a sonogram of her baby.

The annual median salary is $62,540, while the occupation is expected to grow by 24 percent by 2024.

Best: Audiologist, $73,060


An aging baby boomer population will likely make this an in-demand job during the next decade. Audiologists, who make an annual median income of $73,060, diagnose and treat patients' hearing and ear problems.

The occupation is expected to grow by 29 percent through 2024, CareerCast said.

Best: Information security analyst, $88,890


Information security analysts are seeing job and income growth, thanks to the proliferation of online data and concerns among companies and consumers about keeping that data safe.

A new addition to CareerCast's annual best and worst jobs report, this career pays a median annual salary of $88,890 and is expected to grow by 18 percent through 2024.

Best: Statistician, $79,990


The second-best career for 2016 has a strong number behind it: job growth projected to be 34 percent through 2024. That makes it one of the fastest-growing careers on the list, CareerCast said.

Driving this profession's strong growth is the need for statistical analysis across many fields, although about one-third of statisticians work for the federal government or for scientific research and development companies, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

For entry-level jobs, a bachelor's degree in statistics or math is usually enough to get a foot in the door.

Best: Data scientist, $128,240

Andrey Popov/iStockphoto

The top job in CareerCast's analysis is a relative newcomer. The field of data science emerged from the huge growth in information created by the evolution of the Internet, thanks to consumers engaging in everything from banking to dating through online services.

The median annual salary of $128,240 is also one of the most lucrative in CareerCast's analysts.

Becoming a data scientist typically involves earning a bachelor's degree in a related field such as mathematics, although more universities are now creating specialized data science degrees and boot camps.

Worst: Enlisted military, $27,936

Marika Adamopoulos/iStockphoto

The fifth-worst career on the list is one that makes a huge difference to the country's safety: enlisted military personnel.

The reason for its ranking is its high stress level and low environmental score, which is based on issues such as hours worked and the physical demands of the job. It also provides relatively low median annual pay, CareerCast noted.

Worst: Disc jockey, $29,010


Being a disc jockey might sound like it's all fun and games while on air. But CareerCast ranks this occupation as the fourth-worst in America given its low pay and stresses such as budget cuts, thanks to the proliferation of streaming services and podcasts.

Employment for disc jockeys is expected to shrink by 11 percent by 2024, the report found.

Worst: Broadcaster, $37,200

Rudyanto Wijaya/iStockphoto

Once a high-profile job, broadcasters are feeling the stress of a changing media environment. In addition, broadcasters receive relatively low pay and are dealing with a shrinking job market, given that the field is expected to decline by 9 percent through 2024.

"The news business has changed drastically over the years, and not in a good way," former broadcaster Ann Baldwin, who's now president of Baldwin Media PR in New Britain, Connecticut, told CareerCast. "When people ask me if I miss it, I tell them 'I feel as if I jumped off a sinking ship.'"

Worst: Logger, $35,160

Nick Curteman/iStockphoto

Employment for loggers has suffered as more content shifts online, negating the need for wood pulp to make paper. Plus, the career carries high stress and sometimes dangerous conditions, which is why it's listed as the second-worst job in America.

Still, the job outlook isn't as dire as some other professions on the list. The number of jobs for loggers is expected to shrink by about 4 percent by 2024, or less than half the decline expected for broadcasters.

Worst: Newspaper reporter (print), $36,390


The ultimate worst job in America has held the title for three years in a row. Print newspaper reporters are suffering from a decline in the financial health of their employers as readers increasingly turn to online sources for their news.

The resulting decline in ad revenue has created a poor income outlook for the profession, and the number of jobs in the field will likely decline by 9 percent by 2024, CareerCast said.

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