Special Report

This is the Most Iconic Job in Virginia

Each of the 50 states has its own unique identity. These identities have been shaped over decades and centuries and are often defined, at least in part, by economic forces.

Whether it is agriculture in California or resource extraction in Texas, 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.

Marine engineers and naval architects are the most iconic job in Virginia. There are about 11,360 Americans working as marine engineers and naval architects, and 22.2% of them are in Virginia.

The occupation’s concentration in the state is largely due to the presence of major defense contractors. 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.

To determine the most iconic job by state, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the relative concentration of occupations within all 50 states with data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ May 2019 Occupational Employment Statistics program. Detailed occupations were ranked based on location quotient — the concentration of an occupation within a state’s labor force relative to the concentration in the national labor force — as of 2019. Additional data on median annual wage at the state and national levels also came from the BLS. This is the most iconic job in every state.

State: Most iconic job: State workers in job: Concentration relative to US:
Alabama Metal-refining furnace operators 1,390 6 times greater
Alaska Misc. mining machine operators 460 15 times greater
Arizona Plasterers and stucco masons 2,340 4 times greater
Arkansas Misc. food processing workers 4,080 11 times greater
California Farmworkers and laborers 201,440 6 times greater
Colorado Atmospheric and space scientists 970 6 times greater
Connecticut Actuaries 1,350 5 times greater
Delaware Chemists 1,350 5 times greater
Florida Ship engineers 1,520 3 times greater
Georgia Textile winding machine operators 12,070 13 times greater
Hawaii Water vessel captains 1,270 9 times greater
Idaho Nuclear technicians 330 10 times greater
Illinois Rail car repairers 3,120 3 times greater
Indiana Engine assemblers 7,990 8 times greater
Iowa Wind turbine technicians 480 8 times greater
Kansas Aircraft assemblers 8,860 22 times greater
Kentucky Farm and home management educators 1,070 10 times greater
Louisiana Sailors and marine oilers 7,340 18 times greater
Maine Shoe machine operators 390 19 times greater
Maryland Physicists 1,880 6 times greater
Massachusetts Medical scientists 16,860 5 times greater
Michigan Engine assemblers 9,580 7 times greater
Minnesota Wind turbine technicians 500 4 times greater
Mississippi Fallers 400 14 times greater
Missouri Locomotive engineers 1,350 2 times greater
Montana Forest and conservation technicians 860 14 times greater
Nebraska Meat cutters and trimmers 9,200 9 times greater
Nevada Gambling dealers 22,580 24 times greater
New Hampshire Log graders and scalers 70 5 times greater
New Jersey Biochemists and biophysicists 7,280 8 times greater
New Mexico Physicists 1,740 19 times greater
New York Fashion designers 8,460 6 times greater
North Carolina Textile machine operators 2,020 8 times greater
North Dakota Wellhead pumpers 1,110 30 times greater
Ohio Foundry mold and coremakers 3,000 5 times greater
Oklahoma Oil and gas drill operators 3,480 15 times greater
Oregon Misc. logging workers 1,210 25 times greater
Pennsylvania Metal pourers and casters 1,080 3 times greater
Rhode Island Jewelers 780 10 times greater
South Carolina Tire builders 3,970 13 times greater
South Dakota Soil and plant scientists 580 14 times greater
Tennessee Musicians and singers 2,170 3 times greater
Texas Petroleum engineers 18,720 7 times greater
Utah Mining machine operators 1,400 9 times greater
Vermont Fallers 50 5 times greater
Virginia Marine engineers and naval architects 2,520 8 times greater
Washington Avionics technicians 3,180 6 times greater
West Virginia Mining machine operators 1,370 68 times greater
Wisconsin Animal breeders 260 8 times greater
Wyoming Oil and gas service unit operators 1,950 20 times greater