Special Report

The Most Iconic Job in Every State

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Colorado: Atmospheric and space scientists
> Occupation’s concentration in the state: 5.7 times greater than avg.
> Statewide employment in the occupation: 970
> Avg. annual wage for occupation: N/A (nationwide: $97,160)
> Share of all US atmospheric and space scientists in Colorado: 10.4%

Over 10% 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. defense contractor behemoth Lockheed Martin has a missile program near Denver and ranks among the largest private employers in the area.

Atmospheric and space scientists are about six times more concentrated in the state’s labor force compared to the national labor force

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Connecticut: Actuaries
> Occupation’s concentration in the state: 5.3 times greater than avg.
> Statewide employment in the occupation: 1,350
> Avg. annual wage for occupation: N/A (nationwide: $120,970)
> Share of all US actuaries in Connecticut: 6.1%

Actuaries are financial risk analysts and are integral to the insurance industry. Actuaries are about five times more concentrated in Connecticut than they are in the U.S. labor force.

Hartford, the capital of Connecticut, is known as the Insurance Capital of the World, due to the concentration of insurance companies headquartered in the city. Though in recent years some companies have relocated out of the area, over 100 insurance companies still operate in Connecticut.

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Delaware: Chemists
> Occupation’s concentration in the state: 5.3 times greater than avg.
> Statewide employment in the occupation: 1,350
> Avg. annual wage for occupation: $106,020 (nationwide: $84,150)
> Share of all US chemists in Delaware: 1.6%

Chemists are over five times more concentrated in the Delaware labor force than they are in the U.S. labor force as a whole. Due to the presence of major chemical companies — including DuPont, AstraZeneca, and Hercules — Wilmington, Delaware, is known as the chemical capital of the world.

Jobs for chemists in Delaware tend to be higher paying than those in much of the rest of the country. The average annual salary for a chemist in the state is $106,020 — over $20,000 more than it is nationwide.

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Florida: Ship engineers
> Occupation’s concentration in the state: 3.0 times greater than avg.
> Statewide employment in the occupation: 1,520
> Avg. annual wage for occupation: $67,270 (nationwide: $79,540)
> Share of all US ship engineers in Florida: 18.1%

Ship engineers oversee technician crews aboard commercial, research, or military vessels. With the most shoreline in the continental United States, Florida accounts for over 18% of U.S. employment of ship engineers.

Located at a crossroads of North and South America, Miami alone has one of the busiest — and increasingly trafficked — ports in the country. It is also one of the deepest ports in the country, which allows access to larger vessels not able to safely navigate ports with shallower waters.

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Georgia: Textile winding, twisting, and drawing out machine operators
> Occupation’s concentration in the state: 12.7 times greater than avg.
> Statewide employment in the occupation: 12,070
> Avg. annual wage for occupation: $30,620 (nationwide: $30,740)
> Share of all US textile winding, twisting, and drawing out machine operators in Georgia: 38.7%

Nearly 40% of Americans who work as textile winding, twisting, and drawing out machine operators are employed in Georgia. Historically, textile mills were an economic pillar in Columbus, Georgia, in particular for over a century.

Though the U.S. textile industry declined in much of the late 20th century, in Georgia, it has adapted to new circumstances. To compete, textile companies have changed what they make, and how they make it — shifting to increased automation and reliance on artificial intelligence. The average annual wage for a textile machine operator in Georgia is just $30,620, in line with the national average.