Special Report

The Most Iconic Job in Every State

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The United States has one of the largest and most complex economies in the world, and state economies are often vastly different from one another. Some state economies have benefited from an abundance of natural resources or from having a particular kind of climate — for example: California’s fertile lands and fair climate make it an ideal area to grow food. Other state economies have been shaped by regional laws, cultural trends, or innovation. Detroit’s Henry Ford invented the assembly line, and largely as a result, Michigan has been an auto manufacturing hub for over a century. These industries, and the workers they employ, have helped shape the identities of each state.

Click here to see the most iconic job in every state

To determine the most iconic jobs in every state, 24/7 Wall St. used data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics on the concentration of jobs in a given state relative to their concentration nationwide. All of the jobs selected were at least twice as concentrated in their respective state than they were nationwide. Supplemental data on employment figures and median salary also came from the BLS. For clarity, we adjusted the names of several occupations on this list from the official designation used by the BLS.

Many of the industries listed are facing unprecedented hardship due to the coronavirus pandemic. Companies in travel, tourism, oil extraction, and many others have lost revenue and have cut jobs as people are ordered to stay at home. These are the industries being devastated by the coronavirus. 

Iconic jobs are not necessarily highly compensated. Workers in many manufacturing, textile, and food production jobs found on this list often earn less than the $38,640 U.S. median annual wage. These are the 25 lowest paying jobs in America.

Correction: In a previous version of this story, we incorrectly stated that Gordon Food Service is based in Wyoming, Minnesota. In fact, it is based in Wyoming, Michigan. 

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1. Alabama
> Most iconic job: Metal-refining furnace workers
> Employed in job statewide: 1,650
> Median annual wage: $33,960
> Share of all U.S. metal-refining furnace workers in Alabama: 9.3%

Birmingham, the largest city in Alabama, is the only place in the world where there are large deposits of coal, iron ore, and limestone — the three raw ingredients needed to make iron — close together. Though the industry has waned in the past few decades, there are over 1,000 metal manufacturing companies exporting over $1.5 billion in metal goods per year in Alabama. Metal manufacturers employ furnace operators to melt and refine metal and cast it into steel. These furnace workers are nearly seven times more concentrated in Alabama than they are nationwide.

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2. Alaska
> Most iconic job: Misc. mining machine operators
> Employed in job statewide: 220
> Median annual wage: $60,670
> Share of all U.S. misc. mining machine operators in Alaska: 6.7%

Alaska is rich in resources like oil, coal, and natural gas. As a result, miscellaneous mining machine operators are about 30 times more concentrated in Alaska’s labor force compared to their concentration in the U.S. labor force. Resource extraction is a critical component of Alaska’s economy. The state heavily relies on revenue from the state’s oil and gas extraction industry to fund operations.

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3. Arizona
> Most iconic job: Plasterers and stucco masons
> Employed in job statewide: 1,960
> Median annual wage: $41,490
> Share of all U.S. plasterers and stucco masons in Arizona: 7.9%

Arizona is home to parts of the Sonoran, Mojave, Chihuahuan, and Great Basin deserts — and building materials commonly used in other parts of the country do not hold up especially well in desert conditions. Stucco, however, does. Stucco plaster made up of a mixture of sand, Portland cement, lime, and water that is used in homes across Arizona.

There are nearly 2,000 plasterers and stucco masons working in Arizona, or about 8% of all Americans working in the profession nationwide.

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4. Arkansas
> Most iconic job: Misc. food processing workers
> Employed in job statewide: 4,930
> Median annual wage: $24,300
> Share of all U.S. misc. food processing workers in Arkansas: 11.6%

Miscellaneous food processors are over 13 times more concentrated in the Arkansas workforce than they are in the U.S. workforce 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 snacks 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: Farmworkers
> Employed in job statewide: 194,850
> Median annual wage: $24,240
> Share of all U.S. farmworkers in California: 67.8%

A staggering 67.8% 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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6. Colorado
> Most iconic job: Atmospheric and space scientists
> Employed in job statewide: 1,160
> Median annual wage: $92,400
> Share of all U.S. atmospheric and space scientists in Colorado: 12.5%

Nearly 13% of all atmospheric and space scientists nationwide work in Colorado. The National Center for Atmospheric Research, a federally funded research center, is headquartered in Boulder. The state is also home to over 400 aerospace companies. Lockheed Martin, a behemoth defense contractor, has a missile program near Denver and ranks among the the largest private employers in the area. Atmospheric and space scientists are about seven times more concentrated in the state’s labor force compared to the national labor force

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7. Connecticut
> Most iconic job: Nuclear engineers
> Employed in job statewide: 710
> Median annual wage: $112,010
> Share of all U.S. nuclear engineers in Connecticut: 4.4%

There are two nuclear power reactors in Connecticut that generate nearly 42% of all electricity in the state and account for about 97% of all emission-free electricity in the state. Additionally, the USS Nautilus, the first nuclear powered vessel, was built at the Naval Submarine Base in New London, Connecticut. Currently, about 4.4% of all American nuclear engineers work in Connecticut and the profession is about four times more concentrated in the state than it is nationwide.

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8. Delaware
> Most iconic job: Financial examiners
> Employed in job statewide: 660
> Median annual wage: $78,150
> Share of all U.S. financial examiners in Delaware: 1.1%

Financial examiners work to ensure financial institutions and transactions are in compliance with the law. This job is nearly four times more concentrated in Delaware’s labor force than it is in the national labor force. The greater than average demand for financial examiners in Delaware is likely due in part to the state’s booming fintech (financial technology) industry, as the state is home to names like JPMorgan Chase, Capital One, and M&T Bank. Additionally, due in part to the state’s business law court system, more than 60% of all Fortune 500 companies are incorporated in Delaware.

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9. Florida
> Most iconic job: Misc. construction workers
> Employed in job statewide: 7,150
> Median annual wage: $37,140
> Share of all U.S. misc. construction workers in Florida: 21.4%

There was a new construction boom in parts of Florida in recent years. A growing population in these parts is driving demand for housing, while tourist dollars also help fuel the boom in renovations on non-residential buildings, like retailers and restaurants. Miscellaneous construction workers are about four times more concentrated in Florida’s labor force than in the U.S. workforce as a whole.

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10. Georgia
> Most iconic job: Aircraft mechanics and service technicians
> Employed in job statewide: 8,800
> Median annual wage: $77,070
> Share of all U.S. aircraft mechanics and service technicians in Georgia: 6.7%

Atlanta is home to Hartsfield-Jackson Airport, the world’s busiest airport. The airport relies on aircraft mechanics and service technicians to diagnose and fix any issues with the planes so as to keep its more than 107 million customers annually moving to their destination. The airport is Delta’s main hub, and the airline accounts for the majority of passengers at Hartsfield-Jackson Airport.

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11. Hawaii
> Most iconic job: Tour and travel guides
> Employed in job statewide: 2,010
> Median annual wage: $28,550
> Share of all U.S. tour and travel guides in Hawaii: 4.0%

Tour guides and travel guides are about nine times more concentrated in Hawaii than they are across the U.S. as a whole. Tourism is big business in Hawaii as the state drew in an estimated 9.9 million visitors, who spent $17.6 billion, in 2018. The tourism industry supports an estimated 216,000 jobs in the state, including 2,010 tour and travel guides.

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12. Idaho
> Most iconic job: Semiconductor processors
> Employed in job statewide: 990
> Median annual wage: $34,450
> Share of all U.S. semiconductor processors in Idaho: 3.8%

Though potatoes may be Idaho’s most famous export, the state is also something of a semiconductor production hub. Micron, one of the world’s top producers of semiconductors, was founded in Boise in 1978. The company has over 6,000 employees, including many semiconductor processors, who help to manufacture the devices that make modern electronics like cell phones and computers possible. These workers are nearly eight times more concentrated in Idaho than they are nationwide.

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13. Illinois
> Most iconic job: Misc. production workers
> Employed in job statewide: 32,900
> Median annual wage: $32,910
> Share of all U.S. misc. production workers in Illinois: 14.3%

Miscellaneous production workers are manufacturing workers that do not fit into any one specific category. Some of the largest companies operating in Illinois include Caterpillar, with multiple production facilities across the state, and John Deere, with a manufacturing facility in East Moline and another in Moline. An estimated 14.3% of miscellaneous production workers nationwide are employed in Illinois.

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14. Indiana
> Most iconic job: Boilermakers
> Employed in job statewide: 990
> Median annual wage: $73,120
> Share of all U.S. boilermakers in Indiana: 7.1%

The job of boilermakers — workers who, according to the BLS assemble and maintain boilers, closed vats, and other large containers of liquids and gases — is the most iconic in Indiana. A boilermaker is the official mascot of Purdue, one of the largest universities in the state. The origins of the name come from a nickname given to Purdue football players in a local news article published in 1891. More than 7% of all boilermakers in the United States work in Indiana.

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15. Iowa
> Most iconic job: Agricultural and food science technicians
> Employed in job statewide: 2,090
> Median annual wage: $46,750
> Share of all U.S. agricultural and food science technicians in Iowa: 9.8%

Agricultural and food science technicians can work in a variety of settings, from farms to labs, measuring and analyzing food and agricultural product quality. These workers are more than nine times more common in Iowa’s labor force than the U.S. labor force as a whole. Due in part to the quality of topsoil in the state, over 85% of land in Iowa is used for agriculture, and the state is a leading producer of a number of crops, including soybeans and corn.

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16. Kansas
> Most iconic job: Aerospace engineering and operations technicians
> Employed in job statewide: 460
> Median annual wage: $62,560
> Share of all U.S. aerospace engineers and technicians in Kansas: 4.5%

Aerospace engineers and technicians operate and maintain equipment used in manufacturing and repairing aircraft. Multiple companies, including Cessna, Spirit AeroSystems, and Bombardier Learjet employ thousands in their Wichita locations. The city’s identity as an aircraft manufacturing hub began in World War II, as Wichita’s economy boomed thanks to demand for military aircraft.

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17. Kentucky
> Most iconic job: Farm and home management advisors
> Employed in job statewide: 1,090
> Median annual wage: $48,430
> Share of all U.S. farm and home management advisors in Kentucky: 13.6%

Farm and home management advisors are effectively consultants for farmers and those engaged in home economics activities. Such advisors are about 10 times more common in Kentucky’s labor pool than in the U.S. labor pool as a whole. Agriculture and animal raising are big business in Kentucky as the state is home to over 2 million head of cattle.

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18. Louisiana
> Most iconic job: Sailors and marine oilers
> Employed in job statewide: 6,280
> Median annual wage: $39,400
> Share of all U.S. sailors and marine oilers in Louisiana: 19.5%

Sailors and marine oilers perform a wide variety of tasks on board ships, from looking out for obstructions on the water to maintaining ship equipment and using emergency equipment as necessary. In addition to about 7,700 miles of coastline along the Gulf of Mexico, wetlands cover about a third of the state’s total land area. Marine-based economic activity in Louisiana ranges from fishing to offshore oil production and nearly 20% of all U.S. sailors and marine oilers work in the state.

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19. Maine
> Most iconic job: Shoe machine workers
> Employed in job statewide: 400
> Median annual wage: $32,320
> Share of all U.S. shoe machine workers in Maine: 10.5%

Though there are only 400 shoe machine operators and tenders in Maine, they hold the most iconic job in the state, accounting for over 10% of total U.S. employment in the industry. While there are a few smaller shoe making operations in the state, industry employment is driven largely by the presence of New Balance factories in Norridgewock, Skowhegan, and Norway and L.L. Bean plants that churn out the company’s iconic boots in Brunswick and Lewiston.

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20. Maryland
> Most iconic job: Misc. health diagnosing and treating practitioners
> Employed in job statewide: 5,450
> Median annual wage: $136,660
> Share of all U.S. misc. health diagnosing and treating practitioners in Maryland: 14.9%

Miscellaneous health diagnosing and treating practitioners include a range of jobs in medicine, such as naturopathic practitioners, who claim to treat certain symptoms in a more holistic and natural approach, and orthoptists, who diagnose and treat vision disorders. Practitioners such as these are about eight times more common in Maryland than they are nationwide. Maryland is also home to Johns Hopkins University, which has one of the most renowned medical schools in the country.

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21. Massachusetts
> Most iconic job: Biochemists and biophysicists
> Employed in job statewide: 4,650
> Median annual wage: $101,550
> Share of all U.S. biochemists and biophysicists in Massachusetts: 16.3%

Biochemists and biophysicists are about six times more common in the Massachusetts workforce than they are in the nationwide workforce. They primarily study the physical and chemical properties of living organisms and processes. Such workers typically hold a doctorate, and over 16% of all American biochemists and biophysicists work in Massachusetts.

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22. Michigan
> Most iconic job: Engine and machine assemblers
> Employed in job statewide: 9,350
> Median annual wage: $52,350
> Share of all U.S. engine and machine assemblers in Michigan: 19.4%

Largely thanks to Henry Ford, Michigan — and Detroit more specifically — has been America’s automotive manufacturing hub for over a century. Ford, General Motors, and Fiat Chrysler all have their American headquarters in Michigan. Michigan is home to nearly one-fifth of America’s engine and other machine assemblers.

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23. Minnesota
> Most iconic job: Slaughterers and meat packers
> Employed in job statewide: 4,140
> Median annual wage: $31,920
> Share of all U.S. slaughterers and meat packers in Minnesota: 5.5%

Slaughterers and meat packers are three times more common in Minnesota’s workforce than in the country’s labor force as a whole. Minnesota leads the country in turkey production and ranks second in hog farming.

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24. Mississippi
> Most iconic job: Fabric and apparel patternmakers
> Employed in job statewide: 710
> Median annual wage: $36,630
> Share of all U.S. fabric and apparel patternmakers in Mississippi: 13.6%

Nearly 14% of all Americans employed as fabric and apparel patternmakers work in Mississippi. The state is home to several apparel makers, including several that specialize in camouflage clothing. Examples include Drake, based in Olive Branch, and Mossy Oak, headquartered in West Point. These companies distribute their products nationwide and have a readymade market instate, as Mississippi has over 1,000 square miles of public hunting land.

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25. Missouri
> Most iconic job: Railroad brake, signal, and switch operators
> Employed in job statewide: 1,090
> Median annual wage: $61,270
> Share of all U.S. railroad brake, signal, and switch operators in Missouri: 7.6%

Few states depend on railroads like Missouri. The state’s two largest cities, St. Louis and Kansas City, are among the top three largest rail transportation centers in America. The state has over 1,000 railroad brake, signal, and switch operators, who direct trains, link and unlink cars, signal engineers, and inspect equipment.

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26. Montana
> Most iconic job: Conservation scientists
> Employed in job statewide: 570
> Median annual wage: $62,410
> Share of all U.S. conservation scientists in Montana: 2.6%

Conservation scientists work to manage land quality in places like forests and parks. Such workers are about eight times more concentrated in Montana than they are nationwide. Montana is home to 15 protected wilderness areas that span more than 3.4 million acres. Healthy forests are a critical part of the state’s identity, as over 80% of state residents regularly engage in outdoor recreation — and much of it is on public land.

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27. Nebraska
> Most iconic job: Meat, poultry, and fish cutters and trimmers
> Employed in job statewide: 10,170
> Median annual wage: $34,710
> Share of all U.S. meat and poultry cutters in Nebraska: 6.5%

Meat, poultry, and fish cutters and trimmers are about 10 times more concentrated in Nebraska’s labor force than in the U.S. labor force as a whole. The state led the nation in beef and veal exports in 2018. Farming and ranching is possible in the state as much of the landscape makes for ideal grazing pastures for cattle.

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28. Nevada
> Most iconic job: Gaming dealers
> Employed in job statewide: 21,480
> Median annual wage: $18,120
> Share of all U.S. gaming dealers in Nevada: 23.2%

Las Vegas and its casino industry is the lifeblood of Nevada’s economy. The state has over 21,000 gaming dealers, who operate card and other casino games and distribute winnings. Nearly a quarter of all American gaming dealers work in Nevada. Like other professions that do not require employees to have more than a high school diploma, gaming dealers are not highly compensated. Their median annual wage for this occupation is $18,120, less than half the median wage for all American workers.

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29. New Hampshire
> Most iconic job: Computer-controlled machine tool operators
> Employed in job statewide: 3,090
> Median annual wage: $43,000
> Share of all U.S. computer-controlled machine tool operators in New Hampshire: 2.1%

Computer-controlled machine tool operators manufacture or repair different products and materials by controlling robots and machines that are better suited to the work than human hands. These jobs can be in a range of sectors, including computer systems, automotive part manufacturing, and machine shops. These workers are over four times more concentrated in the New Hampshire workforce than they are in the national workforce.

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30. New Jersey
> Most iconic job: Automotive and watercraft service attendants
> Employed in job statewide: 10,230
> Median annual wage: $20,390
> Share of all U.S. automotive and watercraft service attendants in New Jersey: 9.0%

Automotive service attendants thrive in New Jersey largely because that is the only state where drivers are not allowed to pump their own gas. There are over 10,000 automotive service attendants — a category that includes service workers for watercraft — in New Jersey, accounting for nearly 9.0% of all such workers in America. Most workers in this field earn less than $21,000 per year.

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31. New Mexico
> Most iconic job: Physicists
> Employed in job statewide: 1,770
> Median annual wage: $148,620
> Share of all U.S. physicists in New Mexico: 10.0%

The high prevalence of physicists in New Mexico is directly attributable to the Los Alamos National Laboratory in the state. The famed research institute where the atomic bomb was developed continues to be a hub of scientific research for the purposes of national security. Physicists are among the highest paid workers in America, with most earning over $148,000 per year.

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32. New York
> Most iconic job: Fashion designers
> Employed in job statewide: 7,550
> Median annual wage: $79,110
> Share of all U.S. fashion designers in New York: 38.2%

New York City is one of the world’s premier fashion hubs. The city is home to several top fashion schools, including the Parsons School of Design, Fashion Institute of Technology, and Pratt. A number of industry icons, including Ralph Lauren, Marc Jacobs, Tom Ford, Carolina Herrera, and Donna Karan have close ties to the city. As a result, more than one in every three fashion designers in the United States work in New York state.

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33. North Carolina
> Most iconic job: Textile workers
> Employed in job statewide: 2,320
> Median annual wage: $28,530
> Share of all U.S. textile workers in North Carolina: 24.9%

The textile industry has enjoyed a resurgence in several southeastern states, including North Carolina. The region was once a textile production powerhouse until manufacturers began outsourcing production to lower labor costs countries in the second half of the 20th century. In recent years, companies have moved back to the Southeast as production facilities there have become more efficient through automation. Today, Gildan Activewear has four production facilities in the state; Everest Textile Co. has one plant; as does textile company King Charles Industries. Nearly one in every four textile bleaching and dyeing machine operators in the United States work in North Carolina.

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34. North Dakota
> Most iconic job: Misc. extraction workers
> Employed in job statewide: 1,230
> Median annual wage: $60,820
> Share of all U.S. misc. extraction workers in North Dakota: 20.1%

North Dakota produces more crude oil — and has more proved reserves — than any other U.S. state except for Texas. Like in other resource-rich states, extraction workers are the most iconic job in North Dakota. Miscellaneous extraction workers are nearly 70 times more concentrated in the state’s labor force than they are among all workers nationwide.

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35. Ohio
> Most iconic job: Multiple machine tool workers
> Employed in job statewide: 16,860
> Median annual wage: $34,770
> Share of all U.S. multiple machine tool workers in Ohio: 12.6%

Multiple machine tool workers can work in a number of jobs related to operating mechanisms that produce metal or plastic products. Such workers are more than three times more concentrated in Ohio than they are nationwide. Though manufacturing is not the economic pillar it once was in Ohio, it has been expanding in recent years. Manufacturing generated over $110 billion in economic output in the state in 2018, up from just $75 billion in 2009.

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36. Oklahoma
> Most iconic job: Oil and gas drill operators
> Employed in job statewide: 2,610
> Median annual wage: $52,100
> Share of all U.S. oil and gas drill operators in Oklahoma: 14.5%

Oklahoma produces more crude oil than all but three other states and more natural gas than all but four states. Like in other resource-rich states, extraction workers are relatively concentrated in Oklahoma. Oil and gas rotary drill operators in particular are about 13 times more concentrated in Oklahoma’s labor force than they are in the U.S. labor force.

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37. Oregon
> Most iconic job: Misc. logging workers
> Employed in job statewide: 1,230
> Median annual wage: $41,800
> Share of all U.S. misc. logging workers in Oregon: 33.5%

Due to rich soil and an ideal climate for forests, Oregon is a national leader in tree growing and lumber production. Nearly half of the state’s 63 million acres are covered in forest, and according to the Oregon Department of Forestry, logging harvests totalled 3.9 billion board feet in 2017. Over a third of all miscellaneous logging workers in the United States are employed in Oregon.

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38. Pennsylvania
> Most iconic job: Metal pourers and casters
> Employed in job statewide: 1,110
> Median annual wage: $37,840
> Share of all U.S. metal pourers and casters in Pennsylvania: 14.1%

Though Pennsylvania’s iconic steel industry is a shadow of its former self, with the Bethlehem Steel complex located in the Lehigh Valley shuttering operations in 1995, metallurgy occupations remain in the state. More than 14% of all metal pourers and casters in the U.S. work in Pennsylvania. United States Steel Corp. — a beneficiary of the implementation of tariffs on cheaper Chinese steel — announced plans in 2019 to invest over $1 billion in its plants located just outside of Pittsburgh.

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39. Rhode Island
> Most iconic job: Jewelers
> Employed in job statewide: 660
> Median annual wage: $38,280
> Share of all U.S. jewelers in Rhode Island: 2.5%

After a Providence jeweler came up with a new way to plate gold in the late 1700s, factories began to spring up nearby, and the city became a top national and global producer of jewelry. Today, there are still hundreds of workers designing, making, repairing, and selling jewelry in the state. Well-known companies like Tiffany & Co., Shinola, and more have jewelry operations in Rhode Island.

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40. South Carolina
> Most iconic job: Tire builders
> Employed in job statewide: 4,130
> Median annual wage: $53,760
> Share of all U.S. tire builders in South Carolina: 17.3%

South Carolina is the nation’s leading tire manufacturer. Tire builders are over 12 times more concentrated in the state than they are nationwide. Companies like Michelin, Bridgestone, and Continental have manufacturing plants in the state. Over 17% of tire builders in the United States work in South Carolina.

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41. South Dakota
> Most iconic job: Soil and plant scientists
> Employed in job statewide: 570
> Median annual wage: $58,060
> Share of all U.S. soil and plant scientists in South Dakota: 3.8%

Soil and plant scientists are about 13 times more concentrated in South Dakota than they are nationwide. The unusually high share of people working in the occupation is likely due in large part to South Dakota’s agriculture industry. There are 19 million acres of cropland in the state, and agriculture has a $20.9 billion annual economic impact, and accounts for about 20% of South Dakota’s GDP. Corn, soybeans, and hay are the three largest crops in the state by acre of production.

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42. Tennessee
> Most iconic job: Musicians and singers
> Employed in job statewide: 2,270
> Median annual wage: N/A
> Share of all U.S. musicians and singers in Tennessee: 5.4%

Musicians are nearly three times more concentrated in Tennessee than they are nationwide.

This is likely not surprising given Nashville’s reputation as Music City. The Grand Ole Opry is one of the most legendary venues in American music, counting legends like Carrie Underwood, Garth Brooks, and Patsy Cline among its members.

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43. Texas
> Most iconic job: Petroleum engineers
> Employed in job statewide: 19,260
> Median annual wage: $151,360
> Share of all U.S. petroleum engineers in Texas: 59.2%

Texas is the top crude oil and natural gas producer in the country, accounting for over 40% of all U.S. crude production and a quarter of all natural gas production. Energy giants ExxonMobil, Phillips 66, and Halliburton are all headquartered in the Lone Star State. A resource-rich state, Texas is home to over half of all petroleum engineers in the country.

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44. Utah
> Most iconic job: Mining and geological engineers
> Employed in job statewide: 340
> Median annual wage: $84,470
> Share of all U.S. mining and geological engineers in Utah: 5.9%

There are about 25,500 active mining claims in Utah. In addition to gold, silver, copper, and lead mines, the state is also home to the only operating uranium ore mine in the United States. Mining and geological engineers, a category that includes mining safety engineers, is the most iconic job in the state. Responsibilities of Utah residents employed in the position can include conducting safety inspections of mining sites, selecting mining locations, and preparing technical reports for other extraction workers.

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45. Vermont
> Most iconic job: Solar photovoltaic installers
> Employed in job statewide: 400
> Median annual wage: $38,000
> Share of all U.S. solar photovoltaic installers in Vermont: 4.5%

Vermont codified a renewable energy standard into law in 2015, requiring 75% of all retail electricity sales to come from renewable sources by 2032. Today, nearly all the electricity Vermonters use comes from renewable sources, which include both residential solar panels and industrial solar farms. Partially as a result, solar photovoltaic installers — or solar panel installers — are 21 times more concentrated in Vermont than they are nationwide.

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46. Virginia
> Most iconic job: Marine engineers and naval architects
> Employed in job statewide: 2,560
> Median annual wage: $88,470
> Share of all U.S. marine engineers and naval architects in Virginia: 22.6%

Marine engineers and naval architects are the most iconic job in Virginia largely because of the presence of major defense contractors in the state. Newport News-based Huntington Ingalls Industries, for example, is the largest military shipbuilding company in the United States — it is the only builder of American aircraft carriers and one of only two builders of nuclear submarines. Over 22% of all marine engineers and naval architects nationwide work in Virginia.

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47. Washington
> Most iconic job: Avionics technicians
> Employed in job statewide: 2,320
> Median annual wage: N/A
> Share of all U.S. avionics technicians in Washington: 12.3%

Nearly one in every eight avionics technicians in the U.S. work in Washington state. The job generally entails inspecting, installing, and repairing avionics equipment, which can include radar, navigation, radio, and other systems. Boeing, one of the largest aircraft manufacturers in the world, has a nearly 100 acre manufacturing facility in Everett, Washington. The plant employs thousands and produces the company’s popular 747, 767, 777, and 787 airplanes.

Source: JodiJacobson / Getty Images

48. West Virginia
> Most iconic job: Mine shuttle car operators
> Employed in job statewide: 700
> Median annual wage: $57,530
> Share of all U.S. mine shuttle car operators in West Virginia: 41.4%

Mine shuttle car operators control the carts that transport mined coal up to the surface. Such workers are integral to the mining industry in the state, as West Virginia is the second-largest producer of coal in the country after only Wyoming — and coal is typically mined. West Virginia accounts for 13% of all U.S. coal production, and over 41% of all mine shuttle car operators in the U.S. are employed in the state.

Source: filo / Getty Images

49. Wisconsin
> Most iconic job: Animal breeders
> Employed in job statewide: 280
> Median annual wage: $37,080
> Share of all U.S. animal breeders in Wisconsin: 13.0%

Wisconsin, known as “America’s Dairyland,” is home to more than 1.2 million cows across thousands of farms. The state has one of the highest concentrations of animal breeders of any state, and 13% of all animal breeders in America work in the state. These workers analyze the characteristics of animals to decide which ones will produce the best offspring.

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Source: sasacvetkovic33 / Getty Images

50. Wyoming
> Most iconic job: Oil and gas roustabouts
> Employed in job statewide: 1,920
> Median annual wage: $40,090
> Share of all U.S. roustabouts in Wyoming: 3.5%

Wyoming is one of the top oil-producing states in the country, so many of the most common professions in the state are in the energy industry, as well as the state’s most iconic job. The state is home to nearly 2,000 oil and gas roustabouts, who build or fix machinery and equipment used in oil fields. Most workers in this field earn over $40,000 per year, slightly higher than the national median wage of $38,640.

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