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Strategy Here's the most disproportionately popular job in every state

  • Published:

There are more fashion designers per capita in New York State than there are in the US.

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(Business Insider/Andy Kiersz, data from Bureau of Labor Statistics)

  • Popular jobs can vary by state based on occupation distribution.
  • For geographical and economic reasons, certain jobs are concentrated in different pockets of the United States.
  • The Bureau of Labor Statistics provides data on what jobs are disproportionately concentrated in each state.
  • New Yorkers are more likely to be fashion designers than workers in the US overall, and a higher proportion of Texans are petroleum engineers.


The United States is as diverse as it is large.

Colloquialisms, cuisines, and dialects are all regionally dependent. Values, religions, and even occupations are clustered according to geography.

For geographical reasons, certain jobs are concentrated in different pockets of the United States. The environment dictates where certain jobs can be due to the location of natural resources like oil, coal, or natural gas. Careers in shipping and marine engineering obviously require proximity to bodies of water. In the same vein, agricultural occupations rely on sprawling farmland for crop growing.

Using recently released data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, we took a look at the most overrepresented job in each state and Washington, DC, among professions with at least 1,000 employees in the state. Each of these states has more people working these jobs per capita than the nation as a whole. This is not the most common job in every state — that would be far less interesting, as the most common job in 38 states is retail salesperson.

Instead, these jobs have a bigger share in total employment in a particular state than they do in the US.

For example, Texas has about 17,840 petroleum engineers out of 11,890,880 total employed persons, according to the BLS' estimates. That means about 15 out of every 10,000 employed Texans are petroleum engineers.

Meanwhile, petroleum engineers account for 32,010 jobs in the US, out of 142,549,250 total employees. That means about 2.2 out of every 10,000 employed Americans are petroleum engineers.

The BLS calls the ratio of these two rates the "location quotient" for a job in a particular area. The location quotient for petroleum engineers in Texas, then, is 15/2.2, or about 6.7. That is, there are about 6.7 times as many petroleum engineers per 10,000 workers in Texas as there are in the US as a whole.

Here's the most disproportionately popular job the highest location quotient among jobs with at least 1,000 employees in every state and Washington, DC:

ALABAMA: Tire Builders

ALABAMA: Tire Builders play

ALABAMA: Tire Builders

(NASA Glenn Research Center)

Number employed: 2,040
Employment per 1,000 workers: 1.06



ALASKA: Transportation Workers, All Other

ALASKA: Transportation Workers, All Other play

ALASKA: Transportation Workers, All Other

(Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Number employed: 1,180
Employment per 1,000 workers: 3.71



ARIZONA: Semiconductor Processors

ARIZONA: Semiconductor Processors play

ARIZONA: Semiconductor Processors

(Shutterstock)

Number employed: 1,880
Employment per 1,000 workers: 0.69



ARKANSAS: Food Processing Workers, All Other

ARKANSAS: Food Processing Workers, All Other play

ARKANSAS: Food Processing Workers, All Other

(Shutterstock)

Number employed: 4,080
Employment per 1,000 workers: 3.40



CALIFORNIA: Farmworkers and Laborers

CALIFORNIA: Farmworkers and Laborers play

CALIFORNIA: Farmworkers and Laborers

(Thomson Reuters)

Number employed: 189,930
Employment per 1,000 workers: 11.38



COLORADO: Atmospheric and Space Scientists

COLORADO: Atmospheric and Space Scientists play

COLORADO: Atmospheric and Space Scientists

(Reuters/Iqro Rinaldi)

Number employed: 1,180
Employment per 1,000 workers: 0.46



CONNECTICUT: Insurance Underwriters

CONNECTICUT: Insurance Underwriters play

CONNECTICUT: Insurance Underwriters

(Shutterstock)

Number employed: 2,790
Employment per 1,000 workers: 1.69



DELAWARE: Meat, Poultry, and Fish Cutters and Trimmers

DELAWARE: Meat, Poultry, and Fish Cutters and Trimmers play

DELAWARE: Meat, Poultry, and Fish Cutters and Trimmers

(Brendon Thorne/Getty Images))

Number employed: 5,350
Employment per 1,000 workers: 12.09



DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: Political Scientists

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: Political Scientists play

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: Political Scientists

(McKinsey & Company/YouTube)

Number employed: 3,670
Employment per 1,000 workers: 5.19



FLORIDA: Miscellaneous Construction Workers

FLORIDA: Miscellaneous Construction Workers play

FLORIDA: Miscellaneous Construction Workers

(Joe Raedle/Getty)

Number employed: 10,580
Employment per 1,000 workers: 1.26



GEORGIA: Textile Machine Workers

GEORGIA: Textile Machine Workers play

GEORGIA: Textile Machine Workers

(RETUERS/Nguyen Huy Kham)

Number employed: 11,900
Employment per 1,000 workers: 2.76



HAWAII: Baggage Porters and Bellhops

HAWAII: Baggage Porters and Bellhops play

HAWAII: Baggage Porters and Bellhops

(Pixabay)

Number employed: 1,530
Employment per 1,000 workers: 2.42



IDAHO: Forest and Conservation Technicians

IDAHO: Forest and Conservation Technicians play

IDAHO: Forest and Conservation Technicians

(Shutterstock)

Number employed: 2,240
Employment per 1,000 workers: 3.27



ILLINOIS: Occupational Therapy Aides

ILLINOIS: Occupational Therapy Aides play

ILLINOIS: Occupational Therapy Aides

(Ben Sklar/Getty images)

Number employed: 2,250
Employment per 1,000 workers: 0.38



INDIANA: Engine and Other Machine Assemblers

INDIANA: Engine and Other Machine Assemblers play

INDIANA: Engine and Other Machine Assemblers

(Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)

Number employed: 4,310
Employment per 1,000 workers: 1.43



IOWA: Agricultural and Food Science Technicians

IOWA: Agricultural and Food Science Technicians play

IOWA: Agricultural and Food Science Technicians

(REUTERS/Brian Snyder)

Number employed: 1,790
Employment per 1,000 workers: 1.17



KANSAS: Aircraft Assemblers

KANSAS: Aircraft Assemblers play

KANSAS: Aircraft Assemblers

(Shutterstock)

Number employed: 7,870
Employment per 1,000 workers: 5.75



KENTUCKY: Farm and Home Management Advisors

KENTUCKY: Farm and Home Management Advisors play

KENTUCKY: Farm and Home Management Advisors

(Lucy Nicholson/Reuters)

Number employed: 1,150
Employment per 1,000 workers: 0.61



LOUISIANA: Sailors and Marine Oilers

LOUISIANA: Sailors and Marine Oilers play

LOUISIANA: Sailors and Marine Oilers

(Thomson Reuters)

Number employed: 6,220
Employment per 1,000 workers: 3.27



MAINE: Logging Equipment Operators

MAINE: Logging Equipment Operators play

MAINE: Logging Equipment Operators

(Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Number employed: 1,080
Employment per 1,000 workers: 1.80



MARYLAND: Health Diagnosing and Treating Practitioners, All Other

MARYLAND: Health Diagnosing and Treating Practitioners, All Other play

MARYLAND: Health Diagnosing and Treating Practitioners, All Other

(Rocketclips, Inc/Shutterstock)

Number employed: 5,510
Employment per 1,000 workers: 2.07



MASSACHUSETTS: Biochemists and Biophysicists

MASSACHUSETTS: Biochemists and Biophysicists play

MASSACHUSETTS: Biochemists and Biophysicists

(MilitaryHealth/Flickr)

Number employed: 4,100
Employment per 1,000 workers: 1.16



MICHIGAN: Model Makers, Metal and Plastic

MICHIGAN: Model Makers, Metal and Plastic play

MICHIGAN: Model Makers, Metal and Plastic

(Reuters/Carlos Barria)

Number employed: 1,630
Employment per 1,000 workers: 0.38



MINNESOTA: Slaughterers and Meat Packers

MINNESOTA: Slaughterers and Meat Packers play

MINNESOTA: Slaughterers and Meat Packers

(David Silverman / Getty Images)

Number employed: 6,050
Employment per 1,000 workers: 2.13



MISSISSIPPI: Upholsterers

MISSISSIPPI: Upholsterers play

MISSISSIPPI: Upholsterers

(Shutterstock)

Number employed: 3,460
Employment per 1,000 workers: 3.09



MISSOURI: Locker Room, Coatroom, and Dressing Room Attendants

MISSOURI: Locker Room, Coatroom, and Dressing Room Attendants play

MISSOURI: Locker Room, Coatroom, and Dressing Room Attendants

(Kevork Djansezian/Reuters)

Number employed: 1,770
Employment per 1,000 workers: 0.63



MONTANA: Forest and Conservation Technicians

MONTANA: Forest and Conservation Technicians play

MONTANA: Forest and Conservation Technicians

(Shutterstock)

Number employed: 2,140
Employment per 1,000 workers: 4.64



NEBRASKA: Meat, Poultry, and Fish Cutters and Trimmers

NEBRASKA: Meat, Poultry, and Fish Cutters and Trimmers play

NEBRASKA: Meat, Poultry, and Fish Cutters and Trimmers

(Shutterstock)

Number employed: 9,450
Employment per 1,000 workers: 9.74



NEVADA: Gaming Service Workers, All Other

NEVADA: Gaming Service Workers, All Other play

NEVADA: Gaming Service Workers, All Other

(Shutterstock)

Number employed:3,310
Employment per 1,000 workers: 2.52



NEW HAMPSHIRE: Computer-Controlled Machine Tool Operators, Metal and Plastic

NEW HAMPSHIRE: Computer-Controlled Machine Tool Operators, Metal and Plastic play

NEW HAMPSHIRE: Computer-Controlled Machine Tool Operators, Metal and Plastic

(Worldskills UK/flickr)

Number employed: 2,620
Employment per 1,000 workers: 4.03



NEW JERSEY: Biochemists and Biophysicists

NEW JERSEY: Biochemists and Biophysicists play

NEW JERSEY: Biochemists and Biophysicists

(Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Number employed: 5,150
Employment per 1,000 workers: 1.29



NEW MEXICO: Derrick Operators, Oil and Gas

NEW MEXICO: Derrick Operators, Oil and Gas play

NEW MEXICO: Derrick Operators, Oil and Gas

(REUTERS/Jim Urquhart)

Number employed: 1,160
Employment per 1,000 workers: 1.45



NEW YORK: Fashion Designers

NEW YORK: Fashion Designers play

NEW YORK: Fashion Designers

(Shutterstock)

Number employed: 6,710
Employment per 1,000 workers: 0.73



NORTH CAROLINA: Textile Machine Operators

NORTH CAROLINA: Textile Machine Operators play

NORTH CAROLINA: Textile Machine Operators

(USDA / flickr)

Number employed: 2,350
Employment per 1,000 workers: 0.55



NORTH DAKOTA: Roustabouts, Oil and Gas

NORTH DAKOTA: Roustabouts, Oil and Gas play

NORTH DAKOTA: Roustabouts, Oil and Gas

(REUTERS/Jim Urquhart)

Number employed: 3,070
Employment per 1,000 workers: 7.37



OHIO: Engine and Other Machine Assemblers

OHIO: Engine and Other Machine Assemblers play

OHIO: Engine and Other Machine Assemblers

(Bill Pugliano / Stringer / Getty Images)

Number employed: 7,310
Employment per 1,000 workers: 1.36



OKLAHOMA: Rotary Drill Operators, Oil and Gas

OKLAHOMA: Rotary Drill Operators, Oil and Gas play

OKLAHOMA: Rotary Drill Operators, Oil and Gas

(Felicito Rustique Jr./Flickr)

Number employed: 1,800
Employment per 1,000 workers: 1.14



OREGON: Logging Workers, All Other

OREGON: Logging Workers, All Other play

OREGON: Logging Workers, All Other

(David McNew/Getty Images)

Number employed: 1,390
Employment per 1,000 workers: 0.76



PENNSYLVANIA: Ambulance Drivers and Attendants, Ex. EMTs

PENNSYLVANIA: Ambulance Drivers and Attendants, Ex. EMTs play

PENNSYLVANIA: Ambulance Drivers and Attendants, Ex. EMTs

(Thomson Reuters)

Number employed: 2,270
Employment per 1,000 workers: 0.39



RHODE ISLAND: Protective Service Workers, All Other

RHODE ISLAND: Protective Service Workers, All Other play

RHODE ISLAND: Protective Service Workers, All Other

(Shutterstock)

Number employed: 1,600
Employment per 1,000 workers: 3.37



SOUTH CAROLINA: Tire Builders

SOUTH CAROLINA: Tire Builders play

SOUTH CAROLINA: Tire Builders

(Shutterstock)

Number employed: 4,200
Employment per 1,000 workers: 2.09



SOUTH DAKOTA: Residential Advisors

SOUTH DAKOTA: Residential Advisors play

SOUTH DAKOTA: Residential Advisors

(Associated Press/Brennan Linsley)

Number employed: 2,390
Employment per 1,000 workers: 5.69



TENNESSEE: Forging Machine Setters, Operators, and Tenders, Metal and Plastic

TENNESSEE: Forging Machine Setters, Operators, and Tenders, Metal and Plastic play

TENNESSEE: Forging Machine Setters, Operators, and Tenders, Metal and Plastic

(Shutterstock)

Number employed: 2,740
Employment per 1,000 workers: 0.94



TEXAS: Petroleum Engineers

TEXAS: Petroleum Engineers play

TEXAS: Petroleum Engineers

(dgdimension/Shutterstock)

Number employed: 17,840
Employment per 1,000 workers: 1.50



UTAH: Forest and Conservation Technicians

UTAH: Forest and Conservation Technicians play

UTAH: Forest and Conservation Technicians

(U.S. Fish and Wildlife/Flickr)

Number employed: 1,380
Employment per 1,000 workers: 0.98



VERMONT: Industrial Engineering Technicians

VERMONT: Industrial Engineering Technicians play

VERMONT: Industrial Engineering Technicians

(Shutterstock)

Number employed: 1,520
Employment per 1,000 workers: 4.99



VIRGINIA: Ship Engineers

VIRGINIA: Ship Engineers play

VIRGINIA: Ship Engineers

(US Coast Guard)

Number employed: 1,400
Employment per 1,000 workers: 0.37



WASHINGTON: Zoologists and Wildlife Biologists

WASHINGTON: Zoologists and Wildlife Biologists play

WASHINGTON: Zoologists and Wildlife Biologists

(NTNU Vitenskapsmuseet/flickr)

Number employed: 2,260
Employment per 1,000 workers: 0.71



WEST VIRGINIA: Roof Bolters, Mining

WEST VIRGINIA: Roof Bolters, Mining play

WEST VIRGINIA: Roof Bolters, Mining

(Sascha Schuermann/Getty Images)

Number employed: 1,350
Employment per 1,000 workers: 1.96



WISCONSIN: Foundry Mold and Coremakers

WISCONSIN: Foundry Mold and Coremakers play

WISCONSIN: Foundry Mold and Coremakers

(Shutterstock)

Number employed: 1,780
Employment per 1,000 workers: 0.63



WYOMING: Service Unit Operators, Oil, Gas, and Mining

WYOMING: Service Unit Operators, Oil, Gas, and Mining play

WYOMING: Service Unit Operators, Oil, Gas, and Mining

(Shutterstock)

Number employed: 1,460
Employment per 1,000 workers: 5.45