Each of the 50 states has its own unique identity. While abstract and often difficult to pinpoint, these identities have been shaped over decades and centuries and are often defined, at least in part, by economic forces.
Whether it is dairy production in Wisconsin or coal mining in West Virginia, certain industries — and therefore certain jobs — are far more common in some states than others. Often, these occupations serve as both economic engines and as symbols of local identity.
Using data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics on the concentration of jobs in a given state relative to their concentration nationwide, 24/7 Wall St. identified the most iconic job in each state. All of the jobs selected were at least twice as concentrated in their respective state’s labor force than they were in the national labor force. 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.
Explanations for the relatively high concentration of the jobs on this list vary by state. Sometimes they are tied to the abundance of a state’s natural resource or geography and climate. Other times, the presence of major companies explains the concentration of a particular occupation in a state. Here is a look at the best company to work for in every state.
In many cases, the most iconic job in a given state is deeply rooted in the state’s history. And though the occupation might not be these days the economic force it has been in decades past, it remains closely linked to the state’s identity. This is particularly true in states where the most iconic job is in manufacturing, an industry that has been in a long decline in the United States. Here is a look at the U.S. cities where manufacturing is making a comeback.