These are the Top 10 Most Stressful Industries in America

Journo Research

Wednesday, November 1st, 2023

  • Warehousing and storage is the most stressful industry in America  
  • Nursing and residential care facilities ranks as the second most stressful industry  
  • Retail stores rank several times in the top 10  

Every industry has a certain level of stress involved, but which industries are the most stressful?  

Experts at TRĒ House have analyzed 26 different factors, including wages, hours worked, and, paid sick leave to compile a list of the most stressful industries in the U.S. The list was then put into an index and each industry was given a score out of 100. The lower the score, the more stressful the industry. 

Jameson Rodgers, a spokesperson for TRĒ House commented on the findings and ways to combat stress from the workplace:  

“This study shows there are many factors to consider when stress is involved. Some of these industries might look easy on the surface but the inner workings and compensation for employees could lead to a much more stressful environment.  

“Out of the 71 industries in the study, 25 had more than 10% of employees with a second job, and all had over 30% of their workforce worried about paying medical bills.  

“Breaks are not mandated in the U.S. for workers but are instead up to the employer. Research from the association of psychological science has shown that having adequate breaks and rest periods of 10 minutes per hour worked can increase productivity in employees.  

“There are many ways to relieve stress, including exercise and hobbies. Recent research from Harvard Medical School has looked at the effects of microdosing, which is where a small dose (5-10% of the usual dosage) of recreational psychedelics such as psilocybin is taken to improve mood, concentration, and productivity. Although psilocybin is currently illegal in most of the U.S., there are safe, legal products that simulate the feeling.  

“Studies have shown that microdosing improves mood and productivity, but speaking to a medical professional before making any decisions is essential.” 

But which industries were revealed as the most stressful?  

Warehousing and storage is the most stressful industry in the U.S. scoring 28.92/100. The data found that 93% of workers reported being paid hourly. With an hourly wage, workers can find themselves disadvantaged when it comes to taking time off, as any missed hours are taken from their pay. The average amount of sleep for someone in this industry is only 6.82 hours and 12% working in this industry also reported working another job.  

With a score of 33.16/100, nursing and residential care facilities ranks as the second most stressful industry. 11% reported that they had another job in addition and only 43.9% reported being satisfied with their healthcare options. Within the industry, 16% reported taking medication for anxiety or depression. 

Waste management and related services closely follow in third with a score of 37.01/100. 75.5% of the industry report that they are worried about paying medical bills while 64.0% report being unable to pay medical bills at all.  The data also shows that only 34.7% of this industry have paid sick leave.  

Food manufacturing ranks fourth with a score of 39.12/100. 80.0% report being paid hourly in this industry due to working in similar conditions to warehouse staff. The industry also reports that 60.0% are unable to pay medical bills. Smokers in this industry reported an average of 12 cigarettes smoked per day. 

Dining follows with 39.19/100. Only 22.0% report that paid sick leave is available and 62.1% of the industry still report that they cannot pay medical bills. 11.2% also say that they have a second job. Food service is fast-paced and the data also shows that around 12% take medication for anxiety.  

Mining support is sixth with 39.25/100. 58.8% of this industry report that they are paid hourly instead of monthly and 50.6% are worried about paying medical bills. This industry works on average 52 hours per week, the longest working hours in this list. 

Score (/100) 
Warehousing And Storage 
Nursing And Residential Care Facilities 
Administrative And Support And Waste Management And Remediation Services 
Food Manufacturing 
Food Services And Drinking Places 
Support Activities For Mining 
Wood Products 
General Merchandise Stores 
Health And Personal Care Stores 

Wood products rank seventh with 39.29/100 and hotels and accommodation rank eighth with a score of 39.67/100. Wood products as an industry reported that 10.5% have a second job, and 13.4% take medication for anxiety. For those working in accommodation, 66.7% report being unable to pay medical bills, and 15.9% are taking medication for depression. 

General merchandise stores are ninth with 41.66/100. The average number of hours worked in general retail is 36.20.  Finally, health and personal care stores are tenth on the list with 41.69/100. Over 70% of the industry is paid hourly. 

A common link between all industries in the list is the stress and worry over not being able to pay medical bills or being paid hourly. Medical bills can lead to a person being in debt for decades and hourly pay results in employees not feeling able to take time off if they’re sick. Robust support in these areas, such as better insurance cover or being paid a salary, would help employees to feel less stressed and would give peace of mind.