Jobs

Cities With the Most Physically Demanding Jobs

curraheeshutter / Getty Images

We tend to associate some professions with certain areas. For example, software engineers in Silicon Valley, and oilfield workers or technicians in Texas or North Dakota. Similarly, different occupations conjure up different images of workers. The software engineer would be sitting at a desk in an air conditioned office, while the oilfield worker would be sweating outside, wearing work boots, hardhat, and special gloves. No doubt, one job is more physically demanding than the other, and some cities offer more of these jobs.

To determine the cities with the most physically demanding jobs, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed data on physical demands and employment by occupation from the Occupational Requirements Survey and Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics programs of the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Cities were ranked based on an index combining the percentage of workers exposed to extreme heat, the average maximum amount of weight that workers are required to lift or carry on the job, and the average amount of time workers are required to stand on the job per day. Occupation-level data was aggregated from the ORS to the metropolitan statistical area level using employment counts from the OEWS. Concentration by occupation is measured by location quotient.

Many of the cities with the most demanding jobs are in states in the South, including eight cities in Alabama and five in North Carolina. There are also cities in the Midwest, including four in Indiana and three in Ohio. (Also see: Jobs With the Most Drug Overdose Deaths: Check Where Your Job Ranks.)

The workers in the cities on the list have different demanding jobs, including many operators of different machines. They are required to lift anything from a maximum average of 27.7 pounds to 31 pounds, while they often also stand anywhere from 4.6 to 4.9 hours per day. Also, an estimated 5.5% to 8.9% of workers in this cities are exposed to extreme heat.

50. Fort Smith, AR-OK

Source: peeterv / iStock via Getty Images
  • Workers exposed to extreme heat: 6.2%
  • Avg. weight lifting requirement: 28.5 lbs.
  • Avg. standing time required: 4.7 hours
  • Highly concentrated occupations: Meat, poultry, and fish cutters and trimmers; gambling surveillance officers and gambling investigators; graders and sorters, agricultural products

49. Odessa, TX

Source: 2015 Getty Images / Getty Images News via Getty Images
  • Workers exposed to extreme heat: 6.5%
  • Avg. weight lifting requirement: 28.7 lbs.
  • Avg. standing time required: 4.6 hours
  • Highly concentrated occupations: Service unit operators, oil and gas; derrick operators, oil and gas; roustabouts, oil and gas

48. Owensboro, KY

Source: DenisTangneyJr / iStock via Getty Images
  • Workers exposed to extreme heat: 6.4%
  • Avg. weight lifting requirement: 28.0 lbs.
  • Avg. standing time required: 4.7 hours
  • Highly concentrated occupations: Food and tobacco roasting, baking, and drying machine operators and tenders; packaging and filling machine operators and tenders; sewing machine operators

47. Wheeling, WV-OH

Source: ChrisBoswell / iStock via Getty Images
  • Workers exposed to extreme heat: 6.7%
  • Avg. weight lifting requirement: 28.2 lbs.
  • Avg. standing time required: 4.6 hours
  • Highly concentrated occupations: Roof bolters, mining; loading and moving machine operators, underground mining; extraction workers

46. Springfield, OH

Source: cindyfunk / Flickr
  • Workers exposed to extreme heat: 6.2%
  • Avg. weight lifting requirement: 28.6 lbs.
  • Avg. standing time required: 4.7 hours
  • Highly concentrated occupations: Library technicians; machine feeders and offbearers; food processing workers

45. Staunton-Waynesboro, VA

Source: Jon Bilous / iStock via Getty Images
  • Workers exposed to extreme heat: 5.9%
  • Avg. weight lifting requirement: 29.3 lbs.
  • Avg. standing time required: 4.7 hours
  • Highly concentrated occupations: Extruding and drawing machine setters, operators, and tenders, metal and plastic; extruding, forming, pressing, and compacting machine setters, operators, and tenders; bakers

44. Yakima, WA

Source: waterfordyork / iStock via Getty Images
  • Workers exposed to extreme heat: 6.3%
  • Avg. weight lifting requirement: 28.5 lbs.
  • Avg. standing time required: 4.7 hours
  • Highly concentrated occupations: Graders and sorters, agricultural products; cleaning, washing, and metal pickling equipment operators and tenders; agricultural inspectors

43. Twin Falls, ID

Source: peeterv / iStock via Getty Images
  • Workers exposed to extreme heat: 6.1%
  • Avg. weight lifting requirement: 29.1 lbs.
  • Avg. standing time required: 4.7 hours
  • Highly concentrated occupations: Food science technicians; graders and sorters, agricultural products; food cooking machine operators and tenders

42. Longview, WA

Source: PhilAugustavo / iStock via Getty Images
  • Workers exposed to extreme heat: 6.1%
  • Avg. weight lifting requirement: 28.7 lbs.
  • Avg. standing time required: 4.7 hours
  • Highly concentrated occupations: Logging equipment operators; paper goods machine setters, operators, and tenders; sawing machine setters, operators, and tenders, wood

41. Texarkana, TX-AR

Source: DenisTangneyJr / iStock via Getty Images
  • Workers exposed to extreme heat: 6.5%
  • Avg. weight lifting requirement: 28.3 lbs.
  • Avg. standing time required: 4.7 hours
  • Highly concentrated occupations: Mobile heavy equipment mechanics, except engines; first-line supervisors of correctional officers; correctional officers and jailers

40. Auburn-Opelika, AL

Aerial View of the Town and University of Auburn, Alabama
Source: Jacob Boomsma / Shutterstock.com
  • Workers exposed to extreme heat: 6.8%
  • Avg. weight lifting requirement: 27.7 lbs.
  • Avg. standing time required: 4.7 hours
  • Highly concentrated occupations: Molding, coremaking, and casting machine setters, operators, and tenders, metal and plastic; biological science teachers, postsecondary; education teachers, postsecondary

39. Youngstown-Warren-Boardman, OH-PA

Source: kenlund / Flickr
  • Workers exposed to extreme heat: 6.6%
  • Avg. weight lifting requirement: 28.3 lbs.
  • Avg. standing time required: 4.6 hours
  • Highly concentrated occupations: Rolling machine setters, operators, and tenders, metal and plastic; metal-refining furnace operators and tenders; cutting, punching, and press machine setters, operators, and tenders, metal and plastic

38. Spartanburg, SC

Source: Kruck20 / iStock via Getty Images
  • Workers exposed to extreme heat: 6.2%
  • Avg. weight lifting requirement: 29.5 lbs.
  • Avg. standing time required: 4.6 hours
  • Highly concentrated occupations: Textile knitting and weaving machine setters, operators, and tenders; textile bleaching and dyeing machine operators and tenders; textile winding, twisting, and drawing out machine setters, operators, and tenders

37. Lebanon, PA

Source: SEASTOCK / iStock via Getty Images
  • Workers exposed to extreme heat: 5.7%
  • Avg. weight lifting requirement: 29.7 lbs.
  • Avg. standing time required: 4.8 hours
  • Highly concentrated occupations: Sawing machine setters, operators, and tenders, wood; slaughterers and meat packers; career/technical education teachers, postsecondary

36. Beckley, WV

Source: Tim Kiser / Wikimedia Commons
  • Workers exposed to extreme heat: 6.8%
  • Avg. weight lifting requirement: 28.4 lbs.
  • Avg. standing time required: 4.6 hours
  • Highly concentrated occupations: Extraction workers; cooks, fast food; paramedics

35. Dothan, AL

Source: Jens_Lambert_Photography / iStock via Getty Images
  • Workers exposed to extreme heat: 6.3%
  • Avg. weight lifting requirement: 29.2 lbs.
  • Avg. standing time required: 4.7 hours
  • Highly concentrated occupations: Meat, poultry, and fish cutters and trimmers; sawing machine setters, operators, and tenders, wood; nurse anesthetists

34. Lake Charles, LA

Source: DenisTangneyJr / iStock via Getty Images
  • Workers exposed to extreme heat: 6.3%
  • Avg. weight lifting requirement: 29.2 lbs.
  • Avg. standing time required: 4.7 hours
  • Highly concentrated occupations: Tank car, truck, and ship loaders; chemical equipment operators and tenders; gambling dealers

33. Houma-Thibodaux, LA

Source: Pacolawrence / Wikimedia Commons
  • Workers exposed to extreme heat: 6.9%
  • Avg. weight lifting requirement: 28.7 lbs.
  • Avg. standing time required: 4.6 hours
  • Highly concentrated occupations: Sailors and marine oilers; captains, mates, and pilots of water vessels; commercial divers

32. Chambersburg-Waynesboro, PA

Source: Pgiam / iStock via Getty Images
  • Workers exposed to extreme heat: 5.5%
  • Avg. weight lifting requirement: 31.0 lbs.
  • Avg. standing time required: 4.8 hours
  • Highly concentrated occupations: Electrical and electronics repairers, commercial and industrial equipment; mobile heavy equipment mechanics, except engines; computer numerically controlled tool operators

31. Rome, GA

Source: formulanone / Flickr
  • Workers exposed to extreme heat: 6.5%
  • Avg. weight lifting requirement: 29.0 lbs.
  • Avg. standing time required: 4.7 hours
  • Highly concentrated occupations: Extruding and forming machine setters, operators, and tenders, synthetic and glass fibers; cutting, punching, and press machine setters, operators, and tenders, metal and plastic; production workers

30. Homosassa Springs, FL

Source: Xianghong Garrison / iStock Editorial via Getty Images
  • Workers exposed to extreme heat: 6.3%
  • Avg. weight lifting requirement: 29.2 lbs.
  • Avg. standing time required: 4.8 hours
  • Highly concentrated occupations: Physical therapist assistants; pest control workers; roofers

29. Terre Haute, IN

Source: peeterv / iStock via Getty Images
  • Workers exposed to extreme heat: 6.7%
  • Avg. weight lifting requirement: 28.5 lbs.
  • Avg. standing time required: 4.7 hours
  • Highly concentrated occupations: Extruding and drawing machine setters, operators, and tenders, metal and plastic; correctional officers and jailers; first-line supervisors of correctional officers

28. Mansfield, OH

Source: OHWiki~commonswiki / Wikimedia Commons
  • Workers exposed to extreme heat: 6.9%
  • Avg. weight lifting requirement: 28.5 lbs.
  • Avg. standing time required: 4.7 hours
  • Highly concentrated occupations: Extruding and drawing machine setters, operators, and tenders, metal and plastic; tool and die makers; computer numerically controlled tool operators

27. Weirton-Steubenville, WV-OH

Source: Jimkolmus / Wikimedia Commons
  • Workers exposed to extreme heat: 6.6%
  • Avg. weight lifting requirement: 29.2 lbs.
  • Avg. standing time required: 4.7 hours
  • Highly concentrated occupations: Rolling machine setters, operators, and tenders, metal and plastic; library assistants, clerical; water and wastewater treatment plant and system operators

26. Gettysburg, PA

Source: Pgiam / iStock Unreleased via Getty Images
  • Workers exposed to extreme heat: 6.4%
  • Avg. weight lifting requirement: 28.6 lbs.
  • Avg. standing time required: 4.9 hours
  • Highly concentrated occupations: Cutting and slicing machine setters, operators, and tenders; paper goods machine setters, operators, and tenders; packaging and filling machine operators and tenders

25. Albany, OR

Source: Flutter_97321 / Getty Images
  • Workers exposed to extreme heat: 6.2%
  • Avg. weight lifting requirement: 29.8 lbs.
  • Avg. standing time required: 4.8 hours
  • Highly concentrated occupations: Personal care and service workers; adhesive bonding machine operators and tenders; logging equipment operators

24. Farmington, NM

Source: KaraGrubis / iStock via Getty Images
  • Workers exposed to extreme heat: 7.0%
  • Avg. weight lifting requirement: 28.8 lbs.
  • Avg. standing time required: 4.6 hours
  • Highly concentrated occupations: Derrick operators, oil and gas; service unit operators, oil and gas; roustabouts, oil and gas

23. Daphne-Fairhope-Foley, AL

Source: Kruck20 / iStock via Getty Images
  • Workers exposed to extreme heat: 7.1%
  • Avg. weight lifting requirement: 28.2 lbs.
  • Avg. standing time required: 4.8 hours
  • Highly concentrated occupations: Motorboat mechanics and service technicians; amusement and recreation attendants; real estate sales agents

22. Tuscaloosa, AL

Source: sshepard / iStock Unreleased via Getty Images
  • Workers exposed to extreme heat: 7.1%
  • Avg. weight lifting requirement: 29.0 lbs.
  • Avg. standing time required: 4.7 hours
  • Highly concentrated occupations: Psychiatric aides; sawing machine setters, operators, and tenders, wood; logging equipment operators

21. Burlington, NC

Source: mwalter / Flickr
  • Workers exposed to extreme heat: 7.6%
  • Avg. weight lifting requirement: 28.2 lbs.
  • Avg. standing time required: 4.6 hours
  • Highly concentrated occupations: Textile bleaching and dyeing machine operators and tenders; textile knitting and weaving machine setters, operators, and tenders; textile, apparel, and furnishings workers

20. Rocky Mount, NC

Source: michael_richardson / Flickr
  • Workers exposed to extreme heat: 7.4%
  • Avg. weight lifting requirement: 28.7 lbs.
  • Avg. standing time required: 4.6 hours
  • Highly concentrated occupations: Food processing workers; cooks, fast food; industrial engineering technologists and technicians

19. Gulfport-Biloxi-Pascagoula, MS

Source: DaveMcDPhoto / Getty Images
  • Workers exposed to extreme heat: 7.5%
  • Avg. weight lifting requirement: 27.8 lbs.
  • Avg. standing time required: 4.7 hours
  • Highly concentrated occupations: First-line supervisors of gambling services workers; gambling dealers; gambling cage workers

18. St. Joseph, MO-KS

Source: BOB WESTON / iStock via Getty Images
  • Workers exposed to extreme heat: 7.1%
  • Avg. weight lifting requirement: 29.2 lbs.
  • Avg. standing time required: 4.7 hours
  • Highly concentrated occupations: Packaging and filling machine operators and tenders; chemical equipment operators and tenders; sheet metal workers

17. The Villages, FL

Source: Michael Warren / iStock Unreleased via Getty Images
  • Workers exposed to extreme heat: 7.0%
  • Avg. weight lifting requirement: 28.8 lbs.
  • Avg. standing time required: 4.8 hours
  • Highly concentrated occupations: First-line supervisors of correctional officers; correctional officers and jailers; real estate sales agents

16. Ocean City, NJ

Source: Aneese / iStock via Getty Images
  • Workers exposed to extreme heat: 7.3%
  • Avg. weight lifting requirement: 27.2 lbs.
  • Avg. standing time required: 4.9 hours
  • Highly concentrated occupations: Word processors and typists; hotel, motel, and resort desk clerks; automotive and watercraft service attendants

15. Decatur, AL

Source: DenisTangneyJr / iStock via Getty Images
  • Workers exposed to extreme heat: 7.1%
  • Avg. weight lifting requirement: 29.3 lbs.
  • Avg. standing time required: 4.7 hours
  • Highly concentrated occupations: Extruding and forming machine setters, operators, and tenders, synthetic and glass fibers; health and safety engineers, except mining safety engineers and inspectors; chemical equipment operators and tenders

14. Myrtle Beach-Conway-North Myrtle Beach, SC-NC

Source: felixmizioznikov / iStock via Getty Images
  • Workers exposed to extreme heat: 7.8%
  • Avg. weight lifting requirement: 27.3 lbs.
  • Avg. standing time required: 4.7 hours
  • Highly concentrated occupations: Real estate brokers; education teachers, postsecondary; amusement and recreation attendants

13. Joplin, MO

Source: Michael Munster / Getty Images
  • Workers exposed to extreme heat: 6.8%
  • Avg. weight lifting requirement: 30.0 lbs.
  • Avg. standing time required: 4.7 hours
  • Highly concentrated occupations: Cabinetmakers and bench carpenters; cooks, fast food; food batchmakers

12. Hickory-Lenoir-Morganton, NC

Source: Jeff Yount / iStock via Getty Images
  • Workers exposed to extreme heat: 6.8%
  • Avg. weight lifting requirement: 29.6 lbs.
  • Avg. standing time required: 4.7 hours
  • Highly concentrated occupations: Upholsterers; cutters and trimmers, hand; textile cutting machine setters, operators, and tenders

11. Morristown, TN

Source: Dee / iStock Editorial via Getty Images
  • Workers exposed to extreme heat: 6.4%
  • Avg. weight lifting requirement: 30.5 lbs.
  • Avg. standing time required: 4.8 hours
  • Highly concentrated occupations: Woodworking machine setters, operators, and tenders, except sawing; production workers; helpers–production workers

10. Kokomo, IN

Source: davidwilson1949 / Flickr
  • Workers exposed to extreme heat: 7.1%
  • Avg. weight lifting requirement: 28.9 lbs.
  • Avg. standing time required: 4.9 hours
  • Highly concentrated occupations: Labor relations specialists; plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters; production occupations

9. Jacksonville, NC

Source: mobili / Flickr
  • Workers exposed to extreme heat: 8.9%
  • Avg. weight lifting requirement: 26.9 lbs.
  • Avg. standing time required: 4.6 hours
  • Highly concentrated occupations: Cooks, fast food; pipelayers; psychiatric technicians

8. Muskegon, MI

Source: ericrichardson / Flickr
  • Workers exposed to extreme heat: 7.2%
  • Avg. weight lifting requirement: 28.7 lbs.
  • Avg. standing time required: 4.9 hours
  • Highly concentrated occupations: Foundry mold and coremakers; metal-refining furnace operators and tenders; heat treating equipment setters, operators, and tenders, metal and plastic

7. Goldsboro, NC

Source: By Warren LeMay from Cullowhee, NC, United States - Elm Street, Southside, Greensboro, NC, CC0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=83519672
  • Workers exposed to extreme heat: 7.8%
  • Avg. weight lifting requirement: 28.9 lbs.
  • Avg. standing time required: 4.8 hours
  • Highly concentrated occupations: Cooks, fast food; packaging and filling machine operators and tenders; food batchmakers

6. Florence-Muscle Shoals, AL

Source: Robin Zeigler / iStock Editorial via Getty Images
  • Workers exposed to extreme heat: 7.2%
  • Avg. weight lifting requirement: 29.8 lbs.
  • Avg. standing time required: 4.9 hours
  • Highly concentrated occupations: Extruding and drawing machine setters, operators, and tenders, metal and plastic; industrial machinery mechanics; helpers–production workers

5. Elkhart-Goshen, IN

Source: Publichall / Wikimedia Commons
  • Workers exposed to extreme heat: 6.6%
  • Avg. weight lifting requirement: 31.0 lbs.
  • Avg. standing time required: 5.0 hours
  • Highly concentrated occupations: Fiberglass laminators and fabricators; recreational vehicle service technicians; furniture finishers

4. Sheboygan, WI

Source: DenisTangneyJr / iStock via Getty Images
  • Workers exposed to extreme heat: 7.2%
  • Avg. weight lifting requirement: 29.6 lbs.
  • Avg. standing time required: 4.9 hours
  • Highly concentrated occupations: Food batchmakers; molding, coremaking, and casting machine setters, operators, and tenders, metal and plastic; tool and die makers

3. Michigan City-La Porte, IN

Source: Drew Jacksich / Wikimedia Commons
  • Workers exposed to extreme heat: 7.6%
  • Avg. weight lifting requirement: 29.5 lbs.
  • Avg. standing time required: 4.9 hours
  • Highly concentrated occupations: Metal-refining furnace operators and tenders; grinding, lapping, polishing, and buffing machine tool setters, operators, and tenders, metal and plastic; food batchmakers

2. Gadsden, AL

Source: techbirmingham / Flickr
  • Workers exposed to extreme heat: 7.4%
  • Avg. weight lifting requirement: 30.0 lbs.
  • Avg. standing time required: 4.9 hours
  • Highly concentrated occupations: Cutting, punching, and press machine setters, operators, and tenders, metal and plastic; physical therapist assistants; career/technical education teachers, postsecondary

1. Anniston-Oxford-Jacksonville, AL

Source: jjneff / iStock via Getty Images
  • Workers exposed to extreme heat: 7.8%
  • Avg. weight lifting requirement: 30.2 lbs.
  • Avg. standing time required: 4.9 hours
  • Highly concentrated occupations: Molding, coremaking, and casting machine setters, operators, and tenders, metal and plastic; mobile heavy equipment mechanics, except engines; electrical and electronics repairers, commercial and industrial equipment

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