Special Report

The Most Iconic Job in Every State

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1. Alabama
> Most iconic job: Tire builders
> Employed in job statewide: 2,040
> Median salary: $49,530
> Share of all U.S. tire builders in Ala.: 9.3%

Nearly one-out-of-10 tire builders in the United States work in Alabama. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. has operated a tire-making plant in Gadsden since 1929. Currently, the plant employs some 1,700 people. Earlier this year, however, the company announced plans to lay off an undisclosed number of workers in the plant in the coming months. Gadsden is one of several Alabama cities shedding manufacturing jobs as automation continues to reduce the need for human resources.

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2. Alaska
> Most iconic job: Misc. mining machine operators
> Employed in job statewide: 380
> Median salary: $49,570
> Share of all U.S. misc. mining machine operators in Alaska: 13.4%

Alaska is rich in resources like oil, coal, and natural gas. As a result, mining machine operators are about 60 times more concentrated in Alaska’s labor force compared to their concentration in the U.S. labor force. Not only does resource extraction employ a large share of area workers, but also the Alaska state government gets enough revenue from the oil and gas industry that it does not levy a personal income tax on workers in the state.

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3. Arizona
> Most iconic job: Semiconductor processors
> Employed in job statewide: 1,880
> Median salary: $34,930
> Share of all U.S. semiconductor processors in Ariz.: 8.0%

Semiconductor processors perform any number of tasks involved in the manufacturing of the essential components of semiconductors. Major semiconductor production companies, including Motorola and Honeywell, have production plants in the state. In early 2017, Intel announced plans to invest $7 billion in its production facility in Chandler, which is anticipated to bring some 3,000 jobs to the area.

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4. Arkansas
> Most iconic job: Misc. food processing workers
> Employed in job statewide: 4,080
> Median salary: $23,050
> Share of all U.S. misc. food processing workers in Ark.: 9.4%

Miscellaneous food processors are about 11 times more concentrated in the Arkansas workforce than they are in that of the U.S. overall. The relative commonality of food processing jobs is due largely to the presence of several major companies. For example, Frito-Lay, the company behind snack foods like Doritos, Cheetos, Tostitos, and Funyuns, has a plant in Jonesboro with 790 full-time employees. Additionally, Tyson Foods, a company that produces 1 out of every 5 pounds of chicken, beef, and pork in the United States is headquartered in Springdale, Arkansas.

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5. California
> Most iconic job: Crop farm workers and laborers
> Employed in job statewide: 189,930
> Median salary: $23,350
> Share of all U.S. crop farm workers and laborers in Calif.: 67.3%

A staggering 67% of American crop, nursery, and greenhouse farm workers are employed in California. Thanks to the state’s climate, farming is a $50 billion a year business in California. Parts of the state, like Napa and Sonoma, are renowned for their winemaking — one of the fastest growing industries in the United States.

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