The Most Popular Job In Every State

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The Most Popular Job In Every State

Postby admin » Tue Apr 15, 2014 12:46 am

What is the most popular job in your state? Well, the most common career in America is in retail. But what if you looked at “popular” not in terms of total numbers but based on the most concentrated jobs in particular states when compared to the nation as a whole?

Some jobs are disproportionately concentrated in certain states. Fashion designers flock to New York, Texas has an outsize share of petroleum engineers, and Floridians are much more likely to be motorboat operators than are other Americans.

Logger in Oregon? Check. They’re naturally more concentrated there than anywhere else.

Oil industry engineer in Texas? Ditto.

Marriage therapist in New Jersey? Obviously. Wait, what?

We made a map that shows the most over-represented job in each state, using the Bureau of Labor Statistics' recently released May 2013 "Occupational Employment Statistics." Each state has far more of these jobs per capita than the nation as a whole.

We'll discuss the methodology later. First check out the map:

Over Represented Jobs US State Map.png


In Hawaii, it’s tour guide.

In North Dakota, it’s oil and gas driller.

Top jobs in other states, however, may leave you scratching your head.

Mississippi: upholsterer. Really?

South Dakota: college resident advisor. How many can there be??

Missouri: psychiatric technician. ("Show me crazy!")

New Jersey: as mentioned above, it's marriage and family therapist (watch the video to see my Oscar-worthy performance in counseling).

California: not tech workers, not anyone in the entertainment industry. ... It's farm worker.

And in New York? The most popular job using this analysis—comparing its concentration in New York versus the national norm—is fashion designer. "If you can make it there, you'll make it ... there. ..."

These are not the most common jobs in these states — that map would be very boring, since the most common job in 42 states is "retail salesperson," the most common job in the country.

Instead, this map shows jobs that are disproportionately concentrated in each state. For example, in New York, there are about 7,180 fashion designers, out of a total of 8,635,400 employed people. So fashion designers account for about 8.3 out of every 10,000 jobs in New York.

In the U.S. as a whole, there are about 17,370 fashion designers out of a total of 132,588,810 employed people. So about 1.3 of every 10,000 jobs in America are in fashion design.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics calls the ratio of these two rates the location quotient for a job in a particular area. The location quotient of fashion designers in New York is 8.3 divided by 1.3, which equals about 6.4. That is, there are about 6.4 times as many fashion designers per 10,000 total employed people in New York as in the U.S. as a whole.

The map shows the job in each state with the highest location quotient, among jobs with at least 1,000 people employed. These jobs exist in each state at much higher rates than in the country as a whole.
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