Escape the Rat Race: The Top 10 U.S. Industries Where You Can Work Without Worrying

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When hunting for a job, we often get dazzled by the dollar signs and the promise of a 9-to-5 schedule. But let’s not forget the sneaky little detail called ‘stress level’ that often slips under the radar, only to pop up later and crash the job satisfaction party.

The wise folks at, however, have got our backs. They’ve crunched the numbers, factoring in everything from wages to working hours and even paid sick leave, to unveil the holy grail – a list of the least stressful industries in the U.S. Remember- the higher the score, the less stressful the sector.

So, let’s dive into their revelations.

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Stress score: 66/100

The utility sector, comprising companies that provide essential services such as electricity, water, and heating, forms a crucial part of the public service infrastructure. Despite being profit-oriented private entities, these companies operate under stringent regulatory oversight.

Intriguingly, according to a recent study, this sector is identified as the least stressful industry in the United States, with a stress score of 66.00 out of 100. The study further revealed that 64% of this sector’s workforce is compensated hourly.

While this ensures remuneration for hours worked, it may discourage employees from taking time off, as any missed hours would directly affect their earnings. An employee in this industry gets approximately 7.16 hours of sleep and consumes around 13.9 cigarettes daily.


Stress score: 65.22/100

Working in securities, commodities, and other financial-related activities can involve a variety of roles. These include Investment Bankers who help companies increase their financial standings, underwriters who evaluate the risk of potential clients, and brokers who complete securities transactions for their clients.

These roles require a deep understanding of market dynamics and strong analytical skills. It’s an excellent fit for those who enjoy math and interacting with people.

Securities, commodities, and other financial-related activities are the second least stressful industry, scoring 65.22 out of 100. In this field, 29.4% of workers expressed satisfaction with their healthcare options, and 5.4% reported using medication for anxiety or depression.


Stress score: 61.30/100

Public administration jobs span a variety of sectors and roles. This includes Administrative Officers who manage record-keeping and office communications and Management Analysts who use their analytical prowess to boost business efficiency. Social services, business, government, and education opportunities also abound.

Regarding stress levels, public administration ranks third, scoring 61.30 out of 100. However, it’s not all smooth sailing – 37.9% of workers in this field express concerns about affording medical bills, and a significant 48.1% report being unable to pay them. Interestingly, the data reveals that a mere 11.2% of workers in this industry hold a second job.


Stress score: 60.13/100

The education sector offers a wide array of roles, from Administrative Officers managing office communications to Education Specialists enhancing the quality of education. Opportunities also abound in teaching, curriculum development, and school counseling across various sectors like social services, business, government, and education.

However, it’s not all apples for teachers. The workload, role overload, and work-life conflicts can raise stress levels. Add to those issues like violence, bullying, harassment, and unruly student behavior, and you’ve got quite a stress cocktail.

Despite these challenges, the education services sector remains the joint-fourth least stressful industry, scoring 60.13 out of 100. Interestingly, 35.3% of the workforce, including substitute teachers and admin staff, are paid hourly. However, a concerning 38.4% report being unable to foot their medical bills.


Stress score: 59.89/100

The mining industry is a diverse field offering roles such as Blasters, who handle explosives to boost production and profits; Underground Miners, who carry out tasks like drilling and blasting; and Heavy Equipment Operators, who manage machinery like conveyors, bulldozers, and cranes. These roles demand a deep grasp of the mining process and robust analytical skills.

Mining ranks fifth on the stress scale, scoring 59.89 out of 100. A significant 77.6% of workers in this field are paid hourly, and 75% struggle to cover their medical bills. Moreover, with an average workweek of 51 hours, this industry tops the list for the longest working hours.


Stress score: 59.73/100

Jobs in the publishing field are diverse and cater to various skills. They include roles such as Publishing Assistant, who assists in preparing documents for publication; Editorial Assistant, who supports senior editors during each stage of editing; and Fiction Editor, who critiques fiction manuscripts.

Other roles include publishing specialist, ensuring all articles and content are published correctly, and Graphic Designer, creating visual content for book layouts and promotional materials. These jobs require a deep understanding of the publishing process and strong analytical skills.

Like any other business, the publishing industry is subject to market fluctuations, which can lead to instability. Regarding stress levels, publishing ranks sixth with a score of 59.73 out of 100. It’s also worth noting that 12.3% of individuals in the publishing industry have reported having a second job.


Stress score: 59.24/100

The leasing and rental sector offers a variety of employment opportunities in diverse industries. Prominent roles include those of a Leasing Manager and Sales Development Representative, prevalent in real estate and car rental sectors.

However, the sector can also be a source of stress due to various factors. These include economic challenges like reduced income, high rental costs leading to rental anxiety, insecurity among private renters, and market dynamics such as a shortage of affordable rentals. These factors can significantly impact an individual’s well-being.

Regarding stress levels, rental and leasing services are ranked seventh, scoring 59.24 out of 100. Notably, 66.7% of those employed in the rental sector report difficulties in paying their medical bills.


Stress score: 59.17/100

The machinery industry in the U.S. is diverse, with jobs like Machinery Engineer, Sales Manager, and Territory Sales Manager. These roles require you to be tech-savvy with machinery and have solid sales skills.

There’s a good chance for career advancement; this industry is a significant player in the U.S. economy. It’s got its fingers in many pies – construction, manufacturing, mining, you name it. Plus, the paychecks are nothing to sneeze at.

Jobs in this industry can be a bit of a rollercoaster ride. There’s the high-pressure environment, the job’s physical demands, the economic fluctuations, safety risks, and the long or irregular hours. How much this affects you depends on your job, the company’s culture, and how you handle stress.

When it comes to stress, on a scale of 100, the machinery industry scores 59.17, making it the eighth on our list—people in this industry clock in an average of 43.63 hours per week.


Stress score: 58.72/100

The insurance carrier industry in the U.S. offers roles such as Insurance Claims Clerk, Claims Examiner, Insurance Appraiser, and Insurance Investigator. These roles require an understanding of insurance policies, analytical skills, and communication abilities. There’s potential for career growth, and the industry plays a crucial role in the U.S. economy. It supports life, automobile, health, property, and casualty sectors.

Jobs in the insurance carrier industry can be stressful due to high work pressure, role conflict, political pressure, long working hours, and talent acquisition and retention challenges.

When it comes to stress, on a scale of 100, the insurance carrier industry scores 58.72, making it the ninth most stressful industry. What’s more, 9.6% of folks in this industry are on medication for depression.


Stress score: 58.62/100

The transportation equipment industry involves manufacturing various equipment used for transporting people and goods, including aircraft, railroad equipment, motor vehicles, motorcycles, and bicycles. It also includes shipbuilding and repair. The industry has a significant global impact and is being transformed by emerging technologies and increasing automation.

Jobs in the transportation equipment industry can be stressful due to high work pressure, physical demands, economic factors, health and safety concerns, and long or irregular hours.

Finally, transportation equipment is tenth on the list with 58.62/100. Over 65% of the industry is paid hourly, and 77.3% report that paid sick leave is available.

Finding Your Zen in the U.S. Job Market

Finding a job that provides financial security is essential, but finding one that supports your mental well-being is crucial. In today’s fast-paced world, stress can creep into any career, but as this list reveals, some industries prioritize calm and balance. Whether it’s the regulated environment of utilities, the intellectual stimulation of finance, or the public service of administration, these sectors offer a chance to thrive without sacrificing your sanity.

Anika is a CPA and founder of What Anika Says. She shares simple and actionable frugal living, money management and money-saving tips to live a debt-free financially independent life. She has been featured on popular websites like Bankrate, Forbes, Mint ,and Authority Magazine. Byline: MSN