A Look at the Most Physically Strenuous Jobs in 2017

Some occupations require more physical activity than others. For example, some require workers to stand and walk more, compared to sitting. Among all civilian jobs in 2017, workers spent an average of 60.4% of their workday standing or walking and 39.6% of their workdays sitting. Construction laborers spent more than 90% of their workday standing or walking.

Strength requirements are another measure of physically strenuous jobs. Strength is measured in five levels from sedentary to very heavy. The strength required for a job depends on how much weight a worker must lift or carry, how often they lift this weight, and the amount they stand or walk in some special cases.

Nearly half (45%) of jobs in 2017 required medium strength. In some occupations, however, most jobs are classified as heavy or very heavy work. Among construction laborers, for example, 65% of jobs required heavy or very heavy work. For these occupations that require heavy or very heavy work, truck drivers were the only occupation that did not also require workers to stand or walk more than half the workday.

These data are from the Occupational Requirements Survey The survey provides information about the physical demands, environmental conditions, education and training, and mental requirements for jobs in the U.S. economy. To learn more, see “Occupational Requirements in the United States — 2017” and occupational group profiles.