Tired construction workerDragon Images / Shutterstock.com

This story originally appeared on Construction Coverage.

The COVID-19 pandemic is responsible for the largest wave of job losses since the Great Depression. The mass layoffs caused by social distancing regulations have given a new meaning to the term "essential worker".

Today's most important workforce often holds some of the most physically demanding jobs. According to the US Department of Labor Statistics, more than a third of those employed in the protection, construction, maintenance and repair sectors are involved in physically demanding jobs.

Nationwide, more than 10% of all employees have physically strenuous activities, which are defined here as activities in which the employees perform heavy or very heavy activities. A large part of this physically strenuous work involves transport and material handling. The United States employs more than 12.5 million people. Construction occupations also account for a significant number of physically demanding workers, with nearly 2.3 million construction workers engaged in heavy or very heavy labor.

The employment and wage data used in this study are from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics 2019 Occupational Employment Statistics. Information on the physical demands of jobs comes from the Job Demands Survey of 2018. In particular, the researchers looked at the percentage of workers in each job where the strength requirement was either heavy or very heavy work.

To determine the percentage of workers in physically demanding jobs by location, the percentages of force required were multiplied by the job-specific employment figures for each location, summed up, and then divided by the total employment for that location. The locations were classified according to the resulting statistics. In the event of a tie, the location with more workers in physically demanding jobs was rated higher.

Locations with a higher prevalence of physically demanding jobs tend to have lower overall wages. In locations where more than 10% of workers are involved in physically demanding jobs, the median annual wage is slightly above $ 36,000. By comparison, the median annual wage in locations where fewer than 10% of workers are involved in physical activities is $ 41,000. Despite this trend, physically demanding jobs often only require a high school diploma or less. Adjusted for the level of education, workers with physically demanding jobs tend to earn more than workers with similar training in different jobs.

It is followed by the metropolitan areas with the largest proportion of workers in physically demanding jobs.

15. Oklahoma City, OK

Oklahoma City skylineNatalia Bratslavsky / Shutterstock.com

  • Percentage of workers in physically demanding jobs: 10.4%
  • Total number of workers in physically demanding jobs: 64,924
  • Total number of employees in all professions: 627,500
  • Protection staff: 13,310
  • Construction worker: 36,090
  • Installation, maintenance and repair workers: 27,240
  • Transport and moving workers: 49,820
  • Average annual wage (all employees): $ 37,640

14. Nashville-Davidson-Murfreesboro-Franklin, TN

Vanderbilt UniversitySean Pavone / Shutterstock.com

  • Percentage of workers in physically demanding jobs: 10.4%
  • Total number of workers in physically demanding jobs: 104.147
  • Total number of employees in all professions: 999.030
  • Protection staff: 23,010
  • Construction worker: 34,390
  • Installation, maintenance and repair workers: 39,690
  • Transport and moving workers: 102.930
  • Average annual wage (all employees): $ 38,900

13. Jacksonville, FL

Jacksonville, FloridaSean Pavone / Shutterstock.com

  • Percentage of workers in physically demanding jobs: 10.5%
  • Total number of workers in physically demanding jobs: 73,877
  • Total number of employees in all professions: 703.140
  • Protection staff: 17,530
  • Construction worker: 32,850
  • Installation, maintenance and repair workers: 31,340
  • Transport and moving workers: 67.280
  • Average annual wage (all employees): $ 36,770

12. Cincinnati, OH-KY-IN

Doug Lemke / Shutterstock.com

  • Percentage of workers in physically demanding jobs: 10.5%
  • Total number of workers in physically demanding jobs: 114.206
  • Total number of employees in all professions: 1,083,650
  • Protection staff: 22,300
  • Construction worker: 36,770
  • Installation, maintenance and repair workers: 43,250
  • Transport and moving workers: 108,510
  • Average annual wage (all employees): $ 39,620

11. Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia, NC-SC

Home surrounded by greenery in Charlotte, NC.Jon Bilous / Shutterstock.com

  • Percentage of workers in physically demanding jobs: 10.6%
  • Total number of workers in physically demanding jobs: 132,596
  • Total number of employees in all professions: 1,245,660
  • Protection staff: 27,380
  • Construction worker: 55.170
  • Installation, maintenance and repair workers: 51,630
  • Transport and moving workers: 128,790
  • Average annual wage (all employees): $ 39,230

10. New Orleans-Metairie, LA

Joseph Sohm / Shutterstock.com

  • Percentage of workers in physically demanding jobs: 10.7%
  • Total number of workers in physically demanding jobs: 59,443
  • Total number of employees in all professions: 557.190
  • Protection staff: 18,640
  • Construction worker: 23,630
  • Installation, maintenance and repair workers: 23,220
  • Transport and moving workers: 47,990
  • Average annual wage (all employees): $ 35,620

9. Birmingham-Hoover, AL

Birmingham skyline at Railway Park in Birmingham, Ala.Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com

  • Percentage of workers in physically demanding jobs: 10.8%
  • Total number of workers in physically demanding jobs: 56.113
  • Total number of employees in all professions: 518.210
  • Protection staff: 13,710
  • Construction worker: 23,770
  • Installation, maintenance and repair workers: 24,560
  • Transport and moving workers: 41.190
  • Average annual wage (all employees): $ 38,020

8. Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, VA-NC

Statue of King Neptune in Virginia BeachJoMo333 / Shutterstock.com

  • Percentage of workers in physically demanding jobs: 10.8%
  • Total number of workers in physically demanding jobs: 82.225
  • Total number of employees in all professions: 758,420
  • Protection staff: 21,040
  • Construction worker: 39,470
  • Installation, maintenance and repair workers: 36,660
  • Transport and moving workers: 63,780
  • Average annual wage (all employees): $ 38,960

7. Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise, NV

Elderly couple in Las Vegassirtravelalot / Shutterstock.com

  • Percentage of workers in physically demanding jobs: 10.8%
  • Total number of workers in physically demanding jobs: 109,739
  • Total number of employees in all professions: 1,019,890
  • Protection staff: 35.240
  • Construction worker: 53,250
  • Installation, maintenance and repair workers: 34,390
  • Transport and moving workers: 88,500
  • Average annual wage (all employees): $ 35,660

6. Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX

Houston, TexasNate Hovee / Shutterstock.com

  • Percentage of workers in physically demanding jobs: 11%
  • Total number of workers in physically demanding jobs: 335.896
  • Total number of employees in all professions: 3,052,170
  • Protection staff: 73,870
  • Construction worker: 193,950
  • Installation, maintenance and repair workers: 133.010
  • Transport and moving workers: 258,690
  • Average annual wage (all employees): $ 40,570

5. Indianapolis-Carmel-Anderson, IN

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<ul>
<li><strong>Percentage of workers in physically demanding jobs:</strong> 11.1%</li>
<li><strong>Total number of workers in physically demanding jobs:</strong> 116,880</li>
<li><strong>Total number of employees in all professions:</strong> 1,057,780</li>
<li><strong>Protection staff:</strong> 23,730</li>
<li><strong>Construction worker:</strong> 42,030</li>
<li><strong>Installation, maintenance and repair workers:</strong> 40,200</li>
<li><strong>Transport and moving workers:</strong> 122,840</li>
<li><strong>Average annual wage (all employees):</strong> $ 39,030</li>
</ul>
<h3>4. Grand Rapids-Wyoming, MI</h3>
<p><img data-portal-copyright=Henryk Sadura / Shutterstock.com

  • Percentage of workers in physically demanding jobs: 11.6%
  • Total number of workers in physically demanding jobs: 66,085
  • Total number of employees in all professions: 567.640
  • Protection staff: 7.530
  • Construction worker: 19,100
  • Installation, maintenance and repair workers: 24,720
  • Transport and moving workers: 56,810
  • Average annual wage (all employees): $ 37,410

3. Louisville / Jefferson County, KY-IN

Thomas Kelley / Shutterstock.com

  • Percentage of workers in physically demanding jobs: 11.6%
  • Total number of workers in physically demanding jobs: 75,805
  • Total number of employees in all professions: 656,250
  • Protection staff: 12,410
  • Construction worker: 23,750
  • Installation, maintenance and repair workers: 27,890
  • Transport and moving workers: 82.040
  • Average annual wage (all employees): $ 37,460

2. Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA.

Riverside, California at nightMattGush / Shutterstock.com

  • Percentage of workers in physically demanding jobs: 12.3%
  • Total number of workers in physically demanding jobs: 188,989
  • Total number of employees in all professions: 1,538,400
  • Protection staff: 40,900
  • Construction worker: 82,200
  • Installation, maintenance and repair workers: 59,480
  • Transport and moving workers: 207.620
  • Average annual wage (all employees): $ 37,780

1. Memphis, TN-MS-AR

f11 Photo / Shutterstock.com

  • Percentage of workers in physically demanding jobs: 12.6%
  • Total number of workers in physically demanding jobs: 79,900
  • Total number of employees in all professions: 632.600
  • Protection staff: 21.110
  • Construction worker: 18,330
  • Installation, maintenance and repair workers: 23,300
  • Transport and moving workers: 107.020
  • Average annual wage (all employees): $ 35,540

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