15 Jobs With Staying Power


Americans who worked as daguerreotypists or matchmakers once upon a time might have difficulty finding stable work today, but there are plenty of jobs that have passed the test of time, surviving tidal waves of economic change.


In some ways, consumers have become nostalgic for ways of olde. Just take a look around Brooklyn, N.Y. Its artisanal vibe harkens back to the 19th century, with a culture that supports homegrown, hand-crafted, limited-edition products, as Benjamin Wallace depicts in New York magazine. Whether it's 1850 or 2013, this scene shows that there will always be a place for craft-beer brewers and artful shop owners.

To find the jobs that have survived for over a century and will likely remain strong for the next, we combed through the U.S. Census of 1850, which is the first year the government collected data on what Americans do for work. We then compared it to today's Census list of the Standard Occupational Classifications, which is revised every decade and identifies 31,000 occupations in America.

It turns out, several jobs make the cut, ranging from the surprisingly niche to the increasingly in-demand. Here are 15 jobs that have proven they have staying power:

Architects (Median pay in 2010 is $72,550 annually): A professional who plans and designs building structures


Authors and writers (Median pay in 2012 is $55,940 annually): Someone who originates and prepares written materials

Armorers: In the past, an armorer was someone who made personal armor. Today, it is someone who maintains and repairs small arms and weapons in the military or police force.

Bankers: (Median pay in 2010 is $70,190 annually): Someone who works as a sales agent in the financial services

Charcoal burners (Median pay in 2012 is $35,530 annually): Someone who makes charcoal

Contractors (Median pay in 2010 is $83,860 annually): Someone who works in construction projects from early development to completion


Cotton ginners (Median pay in 2010 is $18,970 annually): An agriculture worker whose job consists of operating machinery and doing physical labor to produce cotton

Cordwainers (Median pay in 2012 is $24,310 annually): A worker who operates and tends machines used in the production of shoeware

Cork cutters (Median pay in 2012 is $31,430 annually): Someone who operates cutting machines to cut roles or slices of materials

Dentists (Median pay in 2010 is $146,920 annually): A professional who treats patients' teeth and gums

Enamellers: An artist who uses enamel paint to make jewelry and other decorative pieces


Gold beaters: Someone who hammers sheets of gold into gold leaf

Map makers (Median pay in 2010 is $37,900 annually): A technician that assists surveyors and cartographers in collecting data and making maps

Physicians (Median pay in 2010 is equal to or greater than $166,400 annually): A professional who diagnoses and treats injuries and illnesses

Riggers (Median pay in 2012 is $42,660 annually): A person that specializes in lifting and moving heavy objects with a crane or derrick