Since experts say that social interaction drives job satisfaction, it makes sense that clergy are happiest of all, according to a General Social Survey by the National Organization for Research at the University of Chicago. Pictured here on July 21, Patricia Wilson heads the pastor services at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami, Fla., and as a reservist she ministers to military personnel as well. Marice Cohn Band/Miami Herald/MCT/Newscom/File
We spend most of our waking hours working. Eighty percent of firefighters are "very satisfied" with their jobs, which involve helping people. Rob Flores, a Largo firefighter, carries Adam Walker out of his house in Clearwater, Fla., in 1997. Zuma Press/Newscom/File
Social interaction and helping people: Now there's a combination that's tough to beat for job happiness. Physical therapist Kale Issacson helps Kaye Thompson in Albuquerque, N.M., on Aug. 23. Zuma Press/Newscom/File
Being an author pays off better for some people than others, but you can't beat the autonomy of writing down the contents of your own mind. Here, J.K. Rowling, author of the wildly successful 'Harry Potter' series, holds a book signing in Brookline, Mass., in 1999. John Nordell/Staff/File
For those who are going after bliss instead of bucks, a job as special education teacher might be a happy profession. The annual salary averages just under $50,000. Marcia Rayl teaches a special education class at Arcola Elementary School in Arcola, Ind., in 2004. Dean Musser Jr./Journal Gazette/AP/File
Teachers in general are reportedly happy with their jobs, although some would beg to differ in light of current issues with education funding and classroom conditions. The profession continues to attract young idealists like Lee Walter, a teacher at Brandywine Heights Middle School in Topton, Pa., pictured here on Aug. 29. Mr. Walter left a job at a financial planning firm to become an educator. Lauren A. Little/Reading Eagle/AP
Sculptors and painters report high job satisfaction, although the 'starving artist' stereotype is off-putting for many would-be creative types. Working in her home studio in Memphis, Tenn, on Aug. 9, sculptor Andrea Lugar is nearly finished with a clay statue of Memphis Belle namesake Margaret Polk which will be cast in bronze later this week by her husband and fellow artist Larry Lugar. Jim Weber/The Commercial Appeal/AP/File
It seems counterintuitive that listening to people tell you about their problems all day would lead to occupational happiness, but psychologists made the list. Newscom/File
Sixty-five percent of financial services sales agents are happy with their jobs. That could be because some of them are clearing more than $90,000 dollars a year on average for a 40-hour work week in a comfortable office environment. Janessa Hanna, who works at iProducts Services Group, a financial services firm, answers questions about the US job market in Boston, Mass., on Aug. 16. Melanie Stetson Freeman/Staff
Operating engineers get to play with giant toys like bulldozers, front-end loaders, backhoes, scrapers, motor graders, shovels, derricks, large pumps, and air compressors. With more jobs for operating engineers than qualified applicants, no wonder they are happy. Newscom/File
The US unemployment rate fell to 7.8 percent in September, the lowest unemployment rate in 44 months. The economy also created 86,000 more jobs in July and August than first estimated.
ByChristopher Rugaber, Associated Press
The U.S. unemployment rate fell to 7.8 percent last month, dropping below 8 percent for the first time in nearly four years. The rate declined because more people found work, a trend that could have an impact on undecided voters in the final month before the presidential election.