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Every State's Most Iconic Job

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The United States has one of the most dynamic economies in the world. Where it once was symbolized by the automotive and steel industries, the American economy is now the world’s technology colossus. But the U.S. economy is more than that. It is a unique sum of the parts of 50 states whose identities are often tied to a particular job or industry. (And domestic workers hold the most jobs in these 12 states.)

To determine the most iconic job in every state, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed data on employment by state for all detailed occupations from the Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Wage and Employment Statisticssurvey for May 2022. 

Occupations in every state were ranked by their location quotient – the ratio of the concentration of an occupation’s employment in a state relative to its concentration nationwide. For example, if an occupation makes up 10% of the state’s total employment but only 2% of U.S. employment, the location quotient is 5. We considered the occupation with the highest location quotient in a state to be the most iconic. Only occupations with at least 500 employees or more in every state were considered. All other data is also from the BLS. 

Gambling-related jobs have exploded in the U.S., and though we associate that industry with Nevada (and rightfully so), states such as Minnesota, Montana, and Oklahoma have a higher concentration of those occupations within their respective states than the U.S. average. (Also see, industries laying off the most workers.)

Occupations in the textile industry are closely tied to Southern states, and the data confirms this. Textile-related jobs are more highly concentrated in Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, and Mississippi than the U.S. average concentration. Many of the jobs in gambling and textile industries pay less than $40,000 a year.  

Workers have flocked to states such as North Dakota, Wyoming, and Texas for the surge in energy jobs, and indeed the most iconic jobs in these states are wellhead pumpers, roustabouts, and derrick operators, respectively. 

West Virginia’s most iconic job has the highest location quotient of any occupation of any state on the list. The share of roof bolters and mining jobs in West Virginia is more than 87 times the average share nationwide. Other states where there is a job concentration above the national average in mining are Utah and Arizona.

Click here to see the most iconic job in every state.

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Alabama: Textile Winding, Twisting, and Drawing Out Machine Setters, Operators, and Tenders
> Concentration of occupation within state: 6.2 times U.S. avg.
> Employment in occupation: 1,990 (state); 23,830 (U.S.)
> Avg. annual wage in occupation: $37,270 (state); $34,610 (U.S.)
> Other iconic jobs in state: Logging equipment operators; rolling machine setters, operators, and tenders, metal and plastic; meat, poultry, and fish cutters and trimmers

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Alaska: Zoologists and Wildlife Biologists
> Concentration of occupation within state: 20.7 times U.S. avg.
> Employment in occupation: 740 (state); 17,410 (U.S.)
> Avg. annual wage in occupation: $81,320 (state); $72,610 (U.S.)
> Other iconic jobs in state: Commercial pilots; service unit operators, oil and gas; power plant operators

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Arizona: Continuous Mining Machine Operators
> Concentration of occupation within state: 6.8 times U.S. avg.
> Employment in occupation: 1,880 (state); 13,500 (U.S.)
> Avg. annual wage in occupation: $51,800 (state); $57,120 (U.S.)
> Other iconic jobs in state: Semiconductor processing technicians; plasterers and stucco masons; psychiatric technicians

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Arkansas: Graders and Sorters, Agricultural Products
> Concentration of occupation within state: 7.6 times U.S. avg.
> Employment in occupation: 1,470 (state); 23,280 (U.S.)
> Avg. annual wage in occupation: $33,470 (state); $32,990 (U.S.)
> Other iconic jobs in state: Meat, poultry, and fish cutters and trimmers; coil winders, tapers, and finishers; logging equipment operators

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California: Farmworkers and Laborers, Crop, Nursery, and Greenhouse
> Concentration of occupation within state: 5.6 times U.S. avg.
> Employment in occupation: 188,580 (state); 284,000 (U.S.)
> Avg. annual wage in occupation: $34,790 (state); $34,300 (U.S.)
> Other iconic jobs in state: Makeup artists, theatrical and performance; miscellaneous media and communication workers; special effects artists and animators

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Colorado: Atmospheric and Space Scientists
> Concentration of occupation within state: 5.7 times U.S. avg.
> Employment in occupation: 1,050 (state); 9,900 (U.S.)
> Avg. annual wage in occupation: $107,220 (state); $93,610 (U.S.)
> Other iconic jobs in state: Cartographers and photogrammetrists; miscellaneous information and record clerks; geoscientists, except hydrologists and geographers

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Connecticut: Lathe and Turning Machine Tool Setters, Operators, and Tenders, Metal and Plastic
> Concentration of occupation within state: 5.4 times U.S. avg.
> Employment in occupation: 1,160 (state); 19,410 (U.S.)
> Avg. annual wage in occupation: $48,140 (state); $47,820 (U.S.)
> Other iconic jobs in state: Actuaries; rehabilitation counselors; tool and die makers

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Delaware: Meat, Poultry, and Fish Cutters and Trimmers
> Concentration of occupation within state: 8.3 times U.S. avg.
> Employment in occupation: 3,400 (state); 133,460 (U.S.)
> Avg. annual wage in occupation: $31,190 (state); $35,090 (U.S.)
> Other iconic jobs in state: Financial risk specialists; chemists; brokerage clerks

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Florida: Bridge and Lock Tenders
> Concentration of occupation within state: 3.6 times U.S. avg.
> Employment in occupation: 820 (state); 3,690 (U.S.)
> Avg. annual wage in occupation: $32,040 (state); $46,910 (U.S.)
> Other iconic jobs in state: Pile driver operators; fiberglass laminators and fabricators; airfield operations specialists

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Georgia: Textile Winding, Twisting, and Drawing Out Machine Setters, Operators, and Tenders
> Concentration of occupation within state: 11.5 times U.S. avg.
> Employment in occupation: 8,570 (state); 23,830 (U.S.)
> Avg. annual wage in occupation: $34,890 (state); $34,610 (U.S.)
> Other iconic jobs in state: Textile knitting and weaving machine setters, operators, and tenders; extruding and forming machine setters, operators, and tenders, synthetic and glass fibers; textile cutting machine setters, operators, and tenders

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Hawaii: Motorboat Operators
> Concentration of occupation within state: 45.4 times U.S. avg.
> Employment in occupation: 570 (state); 3,110 (U.S.)
> Avg. annual wage in occupation: $52,930 (state); $47,300 (U.S.)
> Other iconic jobs in state: Passenger attendants; baggage porters and bellhops; transportation security screeners

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Idaho: Nuclear Engineers
> Concentration of occupation within state: 9.0 times U.S. avg.
> Employment in occupation: 590 (state); 12,250 (U.S.)
> Avg. annual wage in occupation: $149,100 (state); $124,540 (U.S.)
> Other iconic jobs in state: Recreational vehicle service technicians; graders and sorters, agricultural products; food and tobacco roasting, baking, and drying machine operators and tenders

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Illinois: Mathematical Science Occupations, All Other
> Concentration of occupation within state: 6.3 times U.S. avg.
> Employment in occupation: 960 (state); 3,840 (U.S.)
> Avg. annual wage in occupation: $79,540 (state); $82,160 (U.S.)
> Other iconic jobs in state: Actuaries; shampooers; orthodontists

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Indiana: Metal-Refining Furnace Operators and Tenders
> Concentration of occupation within state: 10.6 times U.S. avg.
> Employment in occupation: 4,290 (state); 19,320 (U.S.)
> Avg. annual wage in occupation: $67,860 (state); $53,450 (U.S.)
> Other iconic jobs in state: Engine and other machine assemblers; welding, soldering, and brazing machine setters, operators, and tenders; furniture finishers

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Iowa: Agricultural Technicians
> Concentration of occupation within state: 9.2 times U.S. avg.
> Employment in occupation: 1,250 (state); 13,140 (U.S.)
> Avg. annual wage in occupation: $49,630 (state); $45,640 (U.S.)
> Other iconic jobs in state: Agricultural equipment operators; soil and plant scientists; slaughterers and meat packers

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Kansas: Aircraft Structure, Surfaces, Rigging, and Systems Assemblers
> Concentration of occupation within state: 19.2 times U.S. avg.
> Employment in occupation: 5,760 (state); 32,140 (U.S.)
> Avg. annual wage in occupation: $56,560 (state); $60,110 (U.S.)
> Other iconic jobs in state: Aerospace engineering and operations technologists and technicians; wind turbine service technicians; recreational therapists

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Kentucky: Forging Machine Setters, Operators, and Tenders, Metal and Plastic
> Concentration of occupation within state: 7.3 times U.S. avg.
> Employment in occupation: 1,000 (state); 10,650 (U.S.)
> Avg. annual wage in occupation: $52,490 (state); $46,940 (U.S.)
> Other iconic jobs in state: Farm and home management educators; welding, soldering, and brazing machine setters, operators, and tenders; sailors and marine oilers

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Louisiana: Sailors and Marine Oilers
> Concentration of occupation within state: 19.1 times U.S. avg.
> Employment in occupation: 6,790 (state); 28,500 (U.S.)
> Avg. annual wage in occupation: $52,910 (state); $53,350 (U.S.)
> Other iconic jobs in state: Miscellaneous entertainers and performers, sports and related workers; miscellaneous extraction workers; captains, mates, and pilots of water vessels

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Maine: Logging Equipment Operators
> Concentration of occupation within state: 7.4 times U.S. avg.
> Employment in occupation: 760 (state); 24,780 (U.S.)
> Avg. annual wage in occupation: $43,240 (state); $46,570 (U.S.)
> Other iconic jobs in state: Crossing guards and flaggers; structural metal fabricators and fitters; miscellaneous social workers

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Maryland: Astronomers
> Concentration of occupation within state: 18.0 times U.S. avg.
> Employment in occupation: 690 (state); 2,160 (U.S.)
> Avg. annual wage in occupation: $141,880 (state); $127,460 (U.S.)
> Other iconic jobs in state: Miscellaneous healthcare diagnosing or treating practitioners; statisticians; miscellaneous physical scientists

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Massachusetts: Biochemists and Biophysicists
> Concentration of occupation within state: 10.5 times U.S. avg.
> Employment in occupation: 8,250 (state); 32,500 (U.S.)
> Avg. annual wage in occupation: $117,830 (state); $114,740 (U.S.)
> Other iconic jobs in state: Microbiologists; oral and maxillofacial surgeons; medical scientists, except epidemiologists

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Michigan: Patternmakers, Metal and Plastic
> Concentration of occupation within state: 9.3 times U.S. avg.
> Employment in occupation: 590 (state); 2,230 (U.S.)
> Avg. annual wage in occupation: $64,050 (state); $55,470 (U.S.)
> Other iconic jobs in state: Model makers, metal and plastic; engine and other machine assemblers; mechanical engineering technologists and technicians

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Minnesota: Gambling Service Workers, All Other
> Concentration of occupation within state: 13.2 times U.S. avg.
> Employment in occupation: 3,090 (state); 12,260 (U.S.)
> Avg. annual wage in occupation: $30,520 (state); $34,340 (U.S.)
> Other iconic jobs in state: Gambling and sports book writers and runners; special education teachers, preschool; prepress technicians and workers

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Mississippi: Upholsterers
> Concentration of occupation within state: 17.0 times U.S. avg.
> Employment in occupation: 3,500 (state); 26,990 (U.S.)
> Avg. annual wage in occupation: $37,280 (state); $41,900 (U.S.)
> Other iconic jobs in state: Psychiatric aides; adhesive bonding machine operators and tenders; logging equipment operators

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Missouri: Cooling and Freezing Equipment Operators and Tenders
> Concentration of occupation within state: 6.8 times U.S. avg.
> Employment in occupation: 830 (state); 6,420 (U.S.)
> Avg. annual wage in occupation: $48,000 (state); $44,240 (U.S.)
> Other iconic jobs in state: Locker room, coatroom, and dressing room attendants; miscellaneous transportation workers; new accounts clerks

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Montana: Gambling and Sports Book Writers and Runners
> Concentration of occupation within state: 21.7 times U.S. avg.
> Employment in occupation: 570 (state); 7,910 (U.S.)
> Avg. annual wage in occupation: $20,020 (state); $32,310 (U.S.)
> Other iconic jobs in state: Forest and conservation technicians; locomotive engineers; gambling change persons and booth cashiers

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Nebraska: Electrical and Electronics Installers and Repairers, Transportation Equipment
> Concentration of occupation within state: 8.9 times U.S. avg.
> Employment in occupation: 500 (state); 8,530 (U.S.)
> Avg. annual wage in occupation: $73,550 (state); $71,740 (U.S.)
> Other iconic jobs in state: Agricultural inspectors; slaughterers and meat packers; agricultural equipment operators

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Nevada: Gambling Managers
> Concentration of occupation within state: 31.8 times U.S. avg.
> Employment in occupation: 1,460 (state); 4,800 (U.S.)
> Avg. annual wage in occupation: $90,350 (state); $95,830 (U.S.)
> Other iconic jobs in state: Taxi drivers; miscellaneous extraction workers; gambling dealers

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New Hampshire: Metal Workers and Plastic Workers, All Other
> Concentration of occupation within state: 6.5 times U.S. avg.
> Employment in occupation: 610 (state); 21,030 (U.S.)
> Avg. annual wage in occupation: $40,520 (state); $41,960 (U.S.)
> Other iconic jobs in state: Cooks, short order; computer numerically controlled tool operators; brokerage clerks

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New Jersey: Shampooers
> Concentration of occupation within state: 7.8 times U.S. avg.
> Employment in occupation: 1,620 (state); 7,480 (U.S.)
> Avg. annual wage in occupation: $29,190 (state); $27,870 (U.S.)
> Other iconic jobs in state: Packers and packagers, hand; miscellaneous food preparation and serving related workers; natural sciences managers

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New Mexico: Extraction Worker Helpers
> Concentration of occupation within state: 17.5 times U.S. avg.
> Employment in occupation: 670 (state); 6,910 (U.S.)
> Avg. annual wage in occupation: $43,760 (state); $44,410 (U.S.)
> Other iconic jobs in state: Nuclear engineers; wellhead pumpers; roustabouts, oil and gas

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New York: Transit and Railroad Police
> Concentration of occupation within state: 7.0 times U.S. avg.
> Employment in occupation: 1,460 (state); 3,370 (U.S.)
> Avg. annual wage in occupation: $76,290 (state); $76,380 (U.S.)
> Other iconic jobs in state: Fashion designers; word processors and typists; fabric and apparel patternmakers

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North Carolina: Textile Bleaching and Dyeing Machine Operators and Tenders
> Concentration of occupation within state: 7.4 times U.S. avg.
> Employment in occupation: 1,550 (state); 6,640 (U.S.)
> Avg. annual wage in occupation: $30,030 (state); $33,900 (U.S.)
> Other iconic jobs in state: Textile winding, twisting, and drawing out machine setters, operators, and tenders; textile knitting and weaving machine setters, operators, and tenders; upholsterers

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North Dakota: Wellhead Pumpers
> Concentration of occupation within state: 30.6 times U.S. avg.
> Employment in occupation: 1,220 (state); 14,550 (U.S.)
> Avg. annual wage in occupation: $64,350 (state); $65,510 (U.S.)
> Other iconic jobs in state: Service unit operators, oil and gas; derrick operators, oil and gas; roustabouts, oil and gas

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Ohio: Engine and Other Machine Assemblers
> Concentration of occupation within state: 4.2 times U.S. avg.
> Employment in occupation: 7,660 (state); 50,120 (U.S.)
> Avg. annual wage in occupation: $56,370 (state); $51,980 (U.S.)
> Other iconic jobs in state: Multiple machine tool setters, operators, and tenders, metal and plastic; forging machine setters, operators, and tenders, metal and plastic; heat treating equipment setters, operators, and tenders, metal and plastic

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Oklahoma: Gambling Surveillance Officers and Gambling Investigators
> Concentration of occupation within state: 14.9 times U.S. avg.
> Employment in occupation: 1,700 (state); 10,500 (U.S.)
> Avg. annual wage in occupation: $31,310 (state); $39,290 (U.S.)
> Other iconic jobs in state: Rotary drill operators, oil and gas; gambling cage workers; gambling change persons and booth cashiers

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Oregon: Personal Care and Service Workers, All Other
> Concentration of occupation within state: 24.2 times U.S. avg.
> Employment in occupation: 18,430 (state); 59,310 (U.S.)
> Avg. annual wage in occupation: $34,900 (state); $33,580 (U.S.)
> Other iconic jobs in state: Miscellaneous logging workers; semiconductor processing technicians; computer hardware engineers

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Pennsylvania: Pourers and Casters, Metal
> Concentration of occupation within state: 4.5 times U.S. avg.
> Employment in occupation: 1,070 (state); 6,070 (U.S.)
> Avg. annual wage in occupation: $42,690 (state); $46,600 (U.S.)
> Other iconic jobs in state: Shampooers; mining and geological engineers, including mining safety engineers; crossing guards and flaggers

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Rhode Island: Jewelers and Precious Stone and Metal Workers
> Concentration of occupation within state: 7.5 times U.S. avg.
> Employment in occupation: 640 (state); 26,280 (U.S.)
> Avg. annual wage in occupation: $45,750 (state); $50,530 (U.S.)
> Other iconic jobs in state: Motorboat mechanics and service technicians; school bus monitors; first-line supervisors of firefighting and prevention workers

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South Carolina: Tire Builders
> Concentration of occupation within state: 15.4 times U.S. avg.
> Employment in occupation: 4,120 (state); 18,360 (U.S.)
> Avg. annual wage in occupation: $52,610 (state); $50,600 (U.S.)
> Other iconic jobs in state: Extruding and forming machine setters, operators, and tenders, synthetic and glass fibers; textile knitting and weaving machine setters, operators, and tenders; nuclear technicians

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South Dakota: Forest and Conservation Workers
> Concentration of occupation within state: 34.4 times U.S. avg.
> Employment in occupation: 610 (state); 6,080 (U.S.)
> Avg. annual wage in occupation: $33,250 (state); $36,010 (U.S.)
> Other iconic jobs in state: Pesticide handlers, sprayers, and applicators, vegetation; gambling change persons and booth cashiers; farm equipment mechanics and service technicians

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Tennessee: Statistical Assistants
> Concentration of occupation within state: 12.0 times U.S. avg.
> Employment in occupation: 1,690 (state); 6,710 (U.S.)
> Avg. annual wage in occupation: $51,840 (state); $54,630 (U.S.)
> Other iconic jobs in state: Drilling and boring machine tool setters, operators, and tenders, metal and plastic; miscellaneous agricultural workers; coil winders, tapers, and finishers

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Texas: Derrick Operators, Oil and Gas
> Concentration of occupation within state: 7.2 times U.S. avg.
> Employment in occupation: 6,930 (state); 10,950 (U.S.)
> Avg. annual wage in occupation: $51,570 (state); $53,770 (U.S.)
> Other iconic jobs in state: Wellhead pumpers; petroleum engineers; rotary drill operators, oil and gas

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Utah: Continuous Mining Machine Operators
> Concentration of occupation within state: 7.2 times U.S. avg.
> Employment in occupation: 1,070 (state); 13,500 (U.S.)
> Avg. annual wage in occupation: $63,690 (state); $57,120 (U.S.)
> Other iconic jobs in state: Stonemasons; miscellaneous woodworkers; tax examiners and collectors, and revenue agents

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Vermont: Community and Social Service Specialists, All Other
> Concentration of occupation within state: 5.0 times U.S. avg.
> Employment in occupation: 940 (state); 94,270 (U.S.)
> Avg. annual wage in occupation: $48,080 (state); $51,620 (U.S.)
> Other iconic jobs in state: Highway maintenance workers; computer numerically controlled tool operators; cooks, short order

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Virginia: Layout Workers, Metal and Plastic
> Concentration of occupation within state: 12.6 times U.S. avg.
> Employment in occupation: 2,260 (state); 6,890 (U.S.)
> Avg. annual wage in occupation: $57,530 (state); $56,170 (U.S.)
> Other iconic jobs in state: Ship engineers; miscellaneous legal support workers; marine engineers and naval architects

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Washington: Tapers
> Concentration of occupation within state: 7.4 times U.S. avg.
> Employment in occupation: 2,420 (state); 14,290 (U.S.)
> Avg. annual wage in occupation: $75,320 (state); $65,880 (U.S.)
> Other iconic jobs in state: Miscellaneous mathematical science occupations; miscellaneous logging workers; zoologists and wildlife biologists

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West Virginia: Roof Bolters, Mining
> Concentration of occupation within state: 87.5 times U.S. avg.
> Employment in occupation: 680 (state); 1,700 (U.S.)
> Avg. annual wage in occupation: $66,080 (state); $63,990 (U.S.)
> Other iconic jobs in state: Miscellaneous extraction workers; loading and moving machine operators, underground mining; continuous mining machine operators

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Wisconsin: Foundry Mold and Coremakers
> Concentration of occupation within state: 5.3 times U.S. avg.
> Employment in occupation: 1,150 (state); 11,330 (U.S.)
> Avg. annual wage in occupation: $43,410 (state); $42,000 (U.S.)
> Other iconic jobs in state: Food batchmakers; computer numerically controlled tool operators; print binding and finishing workers

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Wyoming: Roustabouts, Oil and Gas
> Concentration of occupation within state: 28.5 times U.S. avg.
> Employment in occupation: 2,020 (state); 39,100 (U.S.)
> Avg. annual wage in occupation: $48,120 (state); $45,750 (U.S.)
> Other iconic jobs in state: Gas plant operators; service unit operators, oil and gas; forest and conservation technicians

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