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New Study Names the Most Overworked Industries in the U.S.

  • Mining and logging is the most overworked industry, with an average of 45 hours per week, which is 23% above the national average.  

  • The study analyzed the average number of hours worked in each industry; those with the most hours worked were named the most overworked.  

  • The most underworked industry is leisure and hospitality, with an average of 25.6 hours per week, 30% less than the national average.  

New data reveals the top ten industries working the most in America.  

The research, conducted by leading law firm Schmidt & Clark, examined data on the average number of weekly hours worked in each industry in February 2024, as reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The industries with the highest percentage increase from the national average have been named the most overworked. Additionally, the study used the opposite methodology to name the most underworked industries.  

Mining and logging take the top spot. The industry, responsible for collecting essential minerals and materials used every day, such as cement and wood, works more hours than any other. In total, this equals 45 hours per week on average, 22.90% above the national average of 36.7 hours.  

In second place is utilities, with an average of 42.1 hours per week. The industry, which provides natural gas, electricity, water, and power to Americans, works 15% more than the average citizen, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.  

Durable goods provide the nation with tangible goods that have a long shelf life, including everything from electronics to motor vehicles. The industry is the third most overworked industry in America, with an average of 40.5 hours worked per week, 10.68% above the national average.   

In fourth place is manufacturing, an industry that processes raw materials into valuable products, such as aircraft parts and furniture. On average, the industry works 9.31% more than the average American, coming in at around 40 per week.   

Goods-producing follows in fifth place. The industry, which includes agriculture and forestry, works an average of 39.7 hours per week, 8.4% above the national average in America, according to the study.  

In sixth place, the nondurable products industry is responsible for creating products that have a lifespan of less than three years, from clothing to food and disposable diapers. People in this industry work 39.1 hours per week, 6.85% above the national average. 

Table 1: The industries working the most in America

According to the study, construction is America's seventh most overworked industry. Incorporating building, civil engineering, and specialty trade contracting, the industry works 38.9 hours per week on average. This works out as 6.31% above the national average.   

The eighth most overworked industry is transportation and warehousing, with 38 hours and 3.85% above the national average. Financial activities is ninth, with 37.5 hours and 2.48% above the national average, followed by information in tenth, with 36.5 hours and 0.2% below the national average.   

On the other hand, leisure and hospitality is the most underworked industry in America. In total, these workers log an average of 25.6 hours per week for jobs ranging from hotel management to cocktail waitressing. This is 30% less than the national average of 36.7 hours.   

Retail trade follows as the second most underworked industry in America. According to the study, store workers and e-commerce retailers work an average of 29.8 hours per week, which is 18.55% below the national average.   

Other services, which account for services not provided in other industries, such as laundry and pet care services, rank in third place. The industry logs an average of 32.3 hours per week, 11.72% less than the average citizen.   

Private education and health services and private service-providing industries rank joint-fourth, with 33.3 hours per week. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, this is 8.99% less than the national average.  

In fifth place is trade, transportation, and utilities, a "super sector" that sells merchandise wholesale and transports passengers. The industry works 7.35% less than other industries in America, 33.9 hours per week.   

A spokesperson at Schmidt & Clark has commented on the findings: “In April 2024, 161.49 million people were employed in the U.S., 0.33% more than the previous year. This study highlights the industries working the longest hours in February 2024, increasing the risk of burnout, with mining and logging coming out on top. Therefore, as an essential industry for the nation and the wider world, business leaders within the sector must take the steps needed to support these workers, including investing in mental health support and encouraging the use of vacations.   


“Leisure and hospitality, however, has been named the most underworked industry after logging the least number of hours as of February 2024. Despite being an in-demand industry, this may be due to the number of part-time workers compared to other industries, such as construction. It will be interesting to see if this number will rise during the summer months when the public is more likely to spend time on vacation and in restaurants.”   


Sources U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Statista

Methodology: This campaign examined the average weekly working hours of each industry in the U.S. as of February 2024, according to the U.S Bureau of Labour Statistics. Each industry's weekly hours were compared against the average in the U.S. to decide which are the most over-worked and under-worked.



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