Department of Labor Logo United States Department of Labor
Dot gov

The .gov means it's official.
Federal government websites often end in .gov or .mil. Before sharing sensitive information, make sure you're on a federal government site.

Https

The site is secure.
The https:// ensures that you are connecting to the official website and that any information you provide is encrypted and transmitted securely.

Physically strenuous jobs in 2017

October 25, 2018

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 percent of their workday standing or walking and 39.6 percent of their workdays sitting. Construction laborers spent more than 90 percent of their workday standing or walking.

Percent of workday standing or walking is required in selected occupations, 2017
Occupation Percent of work day standing or walking is required

All civilian workers

60.4%

Construction laborers

90.8

Laborers and freight, stock, and material movers, hand

87.9

Nursing assistants

83.7

Lifeguards, ski patrol, and other recreational protective service workers

55.9

Heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers

26.6

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 percent) 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 percent 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.

Percent of jobs requiring heavy or very heavy strength, selected occupations, 2017
Occupation Very heavy Heavy

All civilian workers

3.4% 13.5%

Construction laborers

13.7 51.1

Laborers and freight, stock, and material movers, hand

22.5 37.9

Nursing assistants

5.7 33.3

Lifeguards, ski patrol, and other recreational protective service workers

25.4 25.2

Heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers

3.9 42.2

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.

SUGGESTED CITATION

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Physically strenuous jobs in 2017 on the Internet at https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2018/physically-strenuous-jobs-in-2017.htm (visited June 03, 2020).

OF INTEREST
spotlight

Recent editions of Spotlight on Statistics

triangle