Special Report

The Most Iconic Job in Every State

Thinkstock

Whether it is a gaming supervisor in Nevada, a farm worker in California, an extraction worker in North Dakota, or a petroleum engineer in Texas, one occupation is often more strongly associated with a state than any other. Such iconic occupations can be identified across the country, and often highlight each state’s unique contribution to the highly diverse U.S. economy.

Occupations such as school teachers, mail carriers, and retail workers are ubiquitous throughout the country and tend to make up the largest shares of each state’s workforce. By contrast, iconic jobs are heavily concentrated within states and relatively uncommon nationwide.

To determine the most iconic job in every state, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the location quotient of all occupations in each state. The location quotient measures the concentration of jobs by comparing how common an occupation is in a state compared to how common it is nationwide. For example, the proportion of Nevada’s workforce employed as gaming service workers is 32 times greater than the comparable share nationwide.

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

Several factors determine which job is the most iconic in a state, including the state’s natural resources. For instance, because oil or natural gas deposits are uneven throughout the country, the jobs that accompany them are unevenly spread as well. America’s largest oil-producing state, Texas, employs more petroleum engineers than the rest of the states combined.

The most iconic job is not necessarily part of the largest industry in a state. Washington state builds 95% of all commercial aircraft in the U.S., and aerospace engineers are the most uniquely concentrated occupation in the state. However, the publishing industry is the largest contributor to GDP in Washington. Similarly, while New York’s banking and finance sector contributes most to the state’s economy, fashion designers are New York’s most iconic job.

To identify the most iconic job in every state, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the occupation with the highest location quotient in every state using data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Employment Statistics survey. Only occupations that comprised at least one of every 2,000 jobs statewide were considered. State and national employment figures and median salaries for each occupation also come from the BLS. All data are for 2015, the most recent period available.

These are the most iconic job in every state.

Birmingham Alabama
Source: Thinkstock

1. Alabama
> Most iconic job: Textile Winding, Twisting, and Drawing Out Machine Setters, Operators, and Tenders
> Employed in job statewide: 2,480
> Median salary, iconic job: $31,610
> Share of U.S. employment in job: 8.9%

[in-text-ad]

Alaska
Source: Thinkstock

2. Alaska
> Most iconic job: Mining Machine Operators, All Other
> Employed in job statewide: 420
> Median salary, iconic job: $52,620
> Share of U.S. employment in job: 19.8%

Arizona road
Source: Thinkstock

3. Arizona
> Most iconic job: Plasterers and Stucco Masons
> Employed in job statewide: 1,520
> Median salary, iconic job: $35,510
> Share of U.S. employment in job: 6.8%

Pine Bluff, Arkansas
Source: Thinkstock

4. Arkansas
> Most iconic job: Food Processing Workers, All Other
> Employed in job statewide: 2,830
> Median salary, iconic job: $22,990
> Share of U.S. employment in job: 6.2%

[in-text-ad-2]

California Farmers
Source: Thinkstock

5. California
> Most iconic job: Farmworkers and Laborers, Crop, Nursery, and Greenhouse
> Employed in job statewide: 178,130
> Median salary, iconic job: $21,550
> Share of U.S. employment in job: 65.4%

Colorado, Milky Way Galaxy
Source: Thinkstock

6. Colorado
> Most iconic job: Atmospheric and Space Scientists
> Employed in job statewide: 1,700
> Median salary, iconic job: $95,990
> Share of U.S. employment in job: 16.4%

[in-text-ad]

Hartford, Connecticut
Source: Thinkstock

7. Connecticut
> Most iconic job: Actuaries
> Employed in job statewide: 980
> Median salary, iconic job: $108,340
> Share of U.S. employment in job: 5.0%

Delaware Route 41
Source: Wikimedia Commons

8. Delaware
> Most iconic job: Meat, Poultry, and Fish Cutters and Trimmers
> Employed in job statewide: 3,800
> Median salary, iconic job: $23,690
> Share of U.S. employment in job: 2.4%

Naples, Florida
Source: Wikimedia Commons

9. Florida
> Most iconic job: Special Education Teachers, All Other
> Employed in job statewide: 12,200
> Median salary, iconic job: $48,600
> Share of U.S. employment in job: 31.8%

[in-text-ad-2]

Augusta, Georgia
Source: Thinkstock

10. Georgia
> Most iconic job: Textile Winding, Twisting, and Drawing Out Machine Setters, Operators, and Tenders
> Employed in job statewide: 9,490
> Median salary, iconic job: $28,440
> Share of U.S. employment in job: 34.2%

Hula Dancer
Source: YinYang

11. Hawaii
> Most iconic job: Dancers
> Employed in job statewide: 590
> Median salary, iconic job: N/A
> Share of U.S. employment in job: 5.9%

[in-text-ad]

Snake River Canyon, Idaho
Source: Thinkstock

12. Idaho
> Most iconic job: Forest and Conservation Technicians
> Employed in job statewide: 2,270
> Median salary, iconic job: $36,320
> Share of U.S. employment in job: 7.6%

Chicago, Illinois 2
Source: Thinkstock

13. Illinois
> Most iconic job: Production Workers, All Other
> Employed in job statewide: 44,250
> Median salary, iconic job: $32,100
> Share of U.S. employment in job: 18.3%

Indianapolis at sunrise
Source: Thinkstock

14. Indiana
> Most iconic job: Rolling Machine Setters, Operators, and Tenders, Metal and Plastic
> Employed in job statewide: 5,560
> Median salary, iconic job: $50,860
> Share of U.S. employment in job: 17.5%

[in-text-ad-2]

Iowa
Source: Thinkstock

15. Iowa
> Most iconic job: Food Processing Workers, All Other
> Employed in job statewide: 6,230
> Median salary, iconic job: $25,820
> Share of U.S. employment in job: 13.7%

Kansas freeway
Source: Thinkstock

16. Kansas
> Most iconic job: Layout Workers, Metal and Plastic
> Employed in job statewide: 740
> Median salary, iconic job: $65,720
> Share of U.S. employment in job: 6.9%

[in-text-ad]

Kentucky Tobacco Field With Barn and Silo in Background
Source: Thinkstock

17. Kentucky
> Most iconic job: Continuous Mining Machine Operators
> Employed in job statewide: 970
> Median salary, iconic job: $48,990
> Share of U.S. employment in job: 8.7%

New Orleans, Louisiana
Source: Thinkstock

18. Louisiana
> Most iconic job: Captains, Mates, and Pilots of Water Vessels
> Employed in job statewide: 8,920
> Median salary, iconic job: $98,400
> Share of U.S. employment in job: 26.9%

Mount Katahdin, Baxter State Park, Maine
Source: Thinkstock

19. Maine
> Most iconic job: Logging Equipment Operators
> Employed in job statewide: 1,240
> Median salary, iconic job: $36,820
> Share of U.S. employment in job: 4.5%

[in-text-ad-2]

Kent_County_Courthouse_in_Chestertown,_Maryland
Source: Geraldshields11 / Wikimedia Commons

20. Maryland
> Most iconic job: Court Reporters
> Employed in job statewide: 2,490
> Median salary, iconic job: $42,420
> Share of U.S. employment in job: 14.1%

Boston, Massachusetts
Source: Thinkstock

21. Massachusetts
> Most iconic job: Biomedical Engineers
> Employed in job statewide: 2,530
> Median salary, iconic job: $93,020
> Share of U.S. employment in job: 12.1%

[in-text-ad]

car production line
Source: Thinkstock

22. Michigan
> Most iconic job: Commercial and Industrial Designers
> Employed in job statewide: 6,030
> Median salary, iconic job: $78,120
> Share of U.S. employment in job: 19.2%

Boundary Waters, Minnesota
Source: Thinkstock

23. Minnesota
> Most iconic job: Food Scientists and Technologists
> Employed in job statewide: 1,570
> Median salary, iconic job: $81,740
> Share of U.S. employment in job: 10.7%

Biloxi Beach at Sunset, Mississippi
Source: Thinkstock

24. Mississippi
> Most iconic job: Layout Workers, Metal and Plastic
> Employed in job statewide: 1,340
> Median salary, iconic job: $46,100
> Share of U.S. employment in job: 12.6%

[in-text-ad-2]

St. Louis, Missouri
Source: Thinkstock

25. Missouri
> Most iconic job: Locker Room, Coatroom, and Dressing Room Attendants
> Employed in job statewide: 1,470
> Median salary, iconic job: $19,680
> Share of U.S. employment in job: 8.4%

Beartooth Mountains at dawn, Red Lodge, Montana, USA.
Source: Thinkstock

26. Montana
> Most iconic job: Forest and Conservation Technicians
> Employed in job statewide: 2,070
> Median salary, iconic job: $35,650
> Share of U.S. employment in job: 6.9%

[in-text-ad]

Lincoln, Nebraska
Source: Thinkstock

27. Nebraska
> Most iconic job: Meat, Poultry, and Fish Cutters and Trimmers
> Employed in job statewide: 11,030
> Median salary, iconic job: $29,060
> Share of U.S. employment in job: 7.1%

Las Vegas, Nevada 2
Source: Thinkstock

28. Nevada
> Most iconic job: Gaming Service Workers, All Other
> Employed in job statewide: 3,470
> Median salary, iconic job: $26,650
> Share of U.S. employment in job: 28.3%

Dartmouth, New Hampshire
Source: Thinkstock

29. New Hampshire
> Most iconic job: Metal Workers and Plastic Workers, All Other
> Employed in job statewide: 840
> Median salary, iconic job: $33,340
> Share of U.S. employment in job: 3.8%

[in-text-ad-2]

Cape May County, New Jersey
Source: Wikimedia Commons

30. New Jersey
> Most iconic job: Shampooers
> Employed in job statewide: 2,090
> Median salary, iconic job: $19,970
> Share of U.S. employment in job: 13.8%

Family trip new mexico
Source: Thinkstock

31. New Mexico
> Most iconic job: Derrick Operators, Oil and Gas
> Employed in job statewide: 1,420
> Median salary, iconic job: $46,240
> Share of U.S. employment in job: 7.3%

[in-text-ad]

Fashion
Source: Thinkstock

32. New York
> Most iconic job: Fashion Designers
> Employed in job statewide: 7,440
> Median salary, iconic job: $79,610
> Share of U.S. employment in job: 39.1%

Elizabeth City, North Carolina
Source: Thinkstock

33. North Carolina
> Most iconic job: Textile Winding, Twisting, and Drawing Out Machine Setters, Operators, and Tenders
> Employed in job statewide: 7,080
> Median salary, iconic job: $24,610
> Share of U.S. employment in job: 25.5%

Natural Gas flaring from an oil well in North Dakota.
Source: Thinkstock

34. North Dakota
> Most iconic job: Extraction Workers, All Other
> Employed in job statewide: 720
> Median salary, iconic job: $68,730
> Share of U.S. employment in job: 13.3%

[in-text-ad-2]

Akron, Ohio
Source: Wikimedia Commons

35. Ohio
> Most iconic job: Engine and Other Machine Assemblers
> Employed in job statewide: 5,940
> Median salary, iconic job: $46,040
> Share of U.S. employment in job: 15.3%

Oklahoma City Sunrise
Source: Thinkstock

36. Oklahoma
> Most iconic job: Rotary Drill Operators, Oil and Gas
> Employed in job statewide: 3,170
> Median salary, iconic job: $51,720
> Share of U.S. employment in job: 12.7%

[in-text-ad]

Logging Equipment Operator
Source: Thinkstock

37. Oregon
> Most iconic job: Logging Workers, All Other
> Employed in job statewide: 1,580
> Median salary, iconic job: $37,550
> Share of U.S. employment in job: 55.8%

York County, Pennsylvania
Source: Thinkstock

38. Pennsylvania
> Most iconic job: Dietetic Technicians
> Employed in job statewide: 3,040
> Median salary, iconic job: $26,240
> Share of U.S. employment in job: 10.5%

Providence, Rhode Island 4
Source: Thinkstock

39. Rhode Island
> Most iconic job: Jewelers and Precious Stone and Metal Workers
> Employed in job statewide: 720
> Median salary, iconic job: $43,120
> Share of U.S. employment in job: 2.8%

[in-text-ad-2]

Traffic Out of Charleston, South Carolina
Source: Thinkstock

40. South Carolina
> Most iconic job: Tire Builders
> Employed in job statewide: 3,160
> Median salary, iconic job: $40,550
> Share of U.S. employment in job: 17.8%

Pierre, South Dakota
Source: Dk4hb / Wikimedia Commons

41. South Dakota
> Most iconic job: Forest and Conservation Workers
> Employed in job statewide: 440
> Median salary, iconic job: $25,410
> Share of U.S. employment in job: 6.4%

[in-text-ad]

Downtown Nashville
Source: Thinkstock

42. Tennessee
> Most iconic job: Healthcare Practitioners and Technical Workers, All Other
> Employed in job statewide: 2,650
> Median salary, iconic job: $49,790
> Share of U.S. employment in job: 6.7%

Oil well and Storage Tanks, Texas
Source: Thinkstock

43. Texas
> Most iconic job: Petroleum Engineers
> Employed in job statewide: 17,900
> Median salary, iconic job: $164,340
> Share of U.S. employment in job: 51.7%

Salt Lake City, Utah
Source: Thinkstock

44. Utah
> Most iconic job: Telephone Operators
> Employed in job statewide: 1,310
> Median salary, iconic job: $32,740
> Share of U.S. employment in job: 13.4%

[in-text-ad-2]

Stowe, Vermont
Source: Thinkstock

45. Vermont
> Most iconic job: Building Cleaning Workers, All Other
> Employed in job statewide: 200
> Median salary, iconic job: $38,400
> Share of U.S. employment in job: 1.2%

Alum Ridge, Virginia
Source: Jarek Tuszynski / Wikimedia Commons

46. Virginia
> Most iconic job: Legal Support Workers, All Other
> Employed in job statewide: 8,880
> Median salary, iconic job: $101,660
> Share of U.S. employment in job: 19.5%

[in-text-ad]

Boeing 747
Source: Thinkstock

47. Washington
> Most iconic job: Aerospace Engineers
> Employed in job statewide: 8,620
> Median salary, iconic job: N/A
> Share of U.S. employment in job: 12.9%

West Virginia University
Source: Thinkstock

48. West Virginia
> Most iconic job: Roof Bolters, Mining
> Employed in job statewide: 2,140
> Median salary, iconic job: $55,580
> Share of U.S. employment in job: 41.0%

Farm, Wisconsin
Source: Thinkstock

49. Wisconsin
> Most iconic job: Foundry Mold and Coremakers
> Employed in job statewide: 1,710
> Median salary, iconic job: $35,420
> Share of U.S. employment in job: 13.3%

[in-text-ad-2]

Wyoming Winter Traffic Jam
Source: Thinkstock

50. Wyoming
> Most iconic job: Wellhead Pumpers
> Employed in job statewide: 840
> Median salary, iconic job: $53,330
> Share of U.S. employment in job: 6.5%

Want to Retire Early? Start Here (Sponsor)

Want retirement to come a few years earlier than you’d planned? Or are you ready to retire now, but want an extra set of eyes on your finances?

Now you can speak with up to 3 financial experts in your area for FREE. By simply clicking here you can begin to match with financial professionals who can help you build your plan to retire early. And the best part? The first conversation with them is free.

Click here to match with up to 3 financial pros who would be excited to help you make financial decisions.

Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us?
Contact the 24/7 Wall St. editorial team.