American Cities With the Most Outdoor Jobs in 2022

The average American spends about 90% of their time indoors and sits for a significant portion of the day. Researchers attribute a wide range of health problems to predominantly indoor (and often sedentary) lifestyles. For one, prolonged sitting is associated with obesity, increased blood pressure, and abnormal cholesterol levels. Furthermore, indoor air quality tends to be worse than outdoor air quality. According to the EPA, the concentration of some pollutants can be two to five times higher indoors than in outdoor settings.

While working outdoors can help avoid these risks, the most common outdoor jobs are not without their own downsides, such as lower wages, physically demanding work, and higher risks of work-related injuries. According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), just under 4% of Americans are employed in outdoor jobs—the most common of which include a variety of construction, maintenance, and delivery occupations.

Chart1_Construction and landscaping are the most common outdoor jobs

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Outdoor work is more prevalent in some areas than others, depending on climate and local industry makeup. Outdoor jobs tend to be least common in the Northeast and parts of the Midwest, while they are more common in the Great Plains states. At the state level, Wyoming has the largest share of outdoor workers in the country, at 9.1%. With 7.5% of its workforce employed in outdoor jobs, North Dakota also has a much higher share of outdoor workers than average. On the opposite end of the spectrum, Delaware (2.7%), Massachusetts (2.8%), Connecticut (3.0%), and Illinois (3.0%) have the fewest workers in predominantly outdoor occupations.

Chart2_Outdoor jobs are most common in Wyoming and North Dakota

To determine the U.S. metropolitan areas with the most outdoor jobs, researchers at Construction Coverage analyzed the latest data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and O*NET. The researchers ranked metros according to the percentage of workers in outdoor jobs, defined as the share of workers in jobs with O*NET outdoor exposure scores of 90 and above. In the event of a tie, the metro with the higher total number of workers in outdoor jobs was ranked higher. Researchers also calculated the most common outdoor job, the average wage for outdoor jobs, and the average wage across all workers. To improve relevance, only metropolitan areas with at least 100,000 people were included in the analysis.

Here are the metros with the most outdoor jobs.

Chart3_Small and midsize metros with the most outdoor jobs

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Large Metros With the Most Outdoor Jobs

Sacramento, CA

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15. Sacramento–Roseville–Arden-Arcade, CA

  • Percentage of workers in outdoor jobs: 3.6%
  • Total workers in outdoors jobs: 34,860
  • Most common outdoor job: Construction Laborers
  • Average wage for outdoor jobs: $52,199
  • Average wage across all workers: $62,820
Charlotte, NC

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14. Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia, NC-SC

  • Percentage of workers in outdoor jobs: 3.6%
  • Total workers in outdoors jobs: 44,110
  • Most common outdoor job: Construction Laborers
  • Average wage for outdoor jobs: $37,577
  • Average wage across all workers: $55,330
Miami, FL

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13. Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach, FL

  • Percentage of workers in outdoor jobs: 3.6%
  • Total workers in outdoors jobs: 91,430
  • Most common outdoor job: Landscaping and Groundskeeping Workers
  • Average wage for outdoor jobs: $38,050
  • Average wage across all workers: $52,970
Phoenix, AZ

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12. Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, AZ

  • Percentage of workers in outdoor jobs: 3.7%
  • Total workers in outdoors jobs: 77,060
  • Most common outdoor job: Landscaping and Groundskeeping Workers
  • Average wage for outdoor jobs: $40,739
  • Average wage across all workers: $54,870
Raleigh, NC

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11. Raleigh, NC

  • Percentage of workers in outdoor jobs: 3.8%
  • Total workers in outdoors jobs: 23,740
  • Most common outdoor job: Landscaping and Groundskeeping Workers
  • Average wage for outdoor jobs: $37,569
  • Average wage across all workers: $56,720
Las Vegas, NV

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10. Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise, NV

  • Percentage of workers in outdoor jobs: 3.8%
  • Total workers in outdoors jobs: 33,940
  • Most common outdoor job: Construction Laborers
  • Average wage for outdoor jobs: $42,022
  • Average wage across all workers: $49,960
Tampa, FL

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9. Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL

  • Percentage of workers in outdoor jobs: 3.8%
  • Total workers in outdoors jobs: 49,900
  • Most common outdoor job: Construction Laborers
  • Average wage for outdoor jobs: $37,002
  • Average wage across all workers: $51,770
New Orleans, LA

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8. New Orleans-Metairie, LA

  • Percentage of workers in outdoor jobs: 3.9%
  • Total workers in outdoors jobs: 20,280
  • Most common outdoor job: Construction Laborers
  • Average wage for outdoor jobs: $43,631
  • Average wage across all workers: $50,020
Jacksonville, FL

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7. Jacksonville, FL

  • Percentage of workers in outdoor jobs: 3.9%
  • Total workers in outdoors jobs: 26,800
  • Most common outdoor job: Construction Laborers
  • Average wage for outdoor jobs: $36,596
  • Average wage across all workers: $49,940
Virginia Beach, VA

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

  • Percentage of workers in outdoor jobs: 3.9%
  • Total workers in outdoors jobs: 28,000
  • Most common outdoor job: Construction Laborers
  • Average wage for outdoor jobs: $40,332
  • Average wage across all workers: $52,170
Pittsburgh, PA

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5. Pittsburgh, PA

  • Percentage of workers in outdoor jobs: 3.9%
  • Total workers in outdoors jobs: 41,870
  • Most common outdoor job: Construction Laborers
  • Average wage for outdoor jobs: $46,150
  • Average wage across all workers: $54,300
Ontario, CA

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4. Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA

  • Percentage of workers in outdoor jobs: 3.9%
  • Total workers in outdoors jobs: 58,260
  • Most common outdoor job: Landscaping and Groundskeeping Workers
  • Average wage for outdoor jobs: $50,549
  • Average wage across all workers: $53,640
Oklahoma City, OK

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3. Oklahoma City, OK

  • Percentage of workers in outdoor jobs: 4.0%
  • Total workers in outdoors jobs: 24,220
  • Most common outdoor job: Landscaping and Groundskeeping Workers
  • Average wage for outdoor jobs: $41,060
  • Average wage across all workers: $50,010
Orlando, FL

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2. Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, FL

  • Percentage of workers in outdoor jobs: 4.5%
  • Total workers in outdoors jobs: 53,300
  • Most common outdoor job: Landscaping and Groundskeeping Workers
  • Average wage for outdoor jobs: $36,503
  • Average wage across all workers: $48,530
Houston, TX

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1. Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX

  • Percentage of workers in outdoor jobs: 4.5%
  • Total workers in outdoors jobs: 132,520
  • Most common outdoor job: Construction Laborers
  • Average wage for outdoor jobs: $44,099
  • Average wage across all workers: $55,950

Detailed Findings & Methodology

To determine the U.S. metropolitan areas with the most outdoor jobs, researchers at Construction Coverage analyzed the latest data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’s Occupational Employment Survey and O*NET’s Occupational Outdoor Exposure data. The researchers ranked metros according to the percentage of workers in outdoor jobs, defined as the share of workers in jobs with O*NET outdoor exposure scores of 90 and above. In the event of a tie, the metro with the higher total number of workers in outdoor jobs was ranked higher. Researchers also calculated the most common outdoor job, the average wage for outdoor jobs, and the average wage across all workers.

To improve relevance, only metropolitan areas with at least 100,000 people were included in the analysis. Additionally, metro areas were grouped into the following cohorts based on population size: 

  • Small metros: 100,000-350,000
  • Midsize metros: 350,000-1,000,000
  • Large metros: more than 1,000,000

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Jonathan Jones

Jonathan Jones is a senior researcher and data journalist for Construction Coverage. He received his J.D. from Loyola Law School in Los Angeles and has degrees in philosophy and political science from UCLA.

When Jon is not researching real estate and public policy, he likes to fix up old cars and work on home improvement projects.