The United States is made up of an incredible array of unique landscapes, climates and cultures. It stands to reason that regional economies exhibit a similarly expansive variety. An industry that is a major economic driver in one state may be almost nonexistent just a few states away. So how can you tell which jobs are the most unique to your home state?
One way is using a metric called location quotient, which is a measurement of job concentration. This is found by taking the percentage share of a state's workforce working in a given occupation and comparing it to the percentage share of the national workforce in that same occupation.
Put another way, LQ asks, "What percentage of workers in Texas are petroleum engineers?" then asks "What percentage of U.S. workers are Petroleum engineers?" and compares the two answers.
A LQ of 1.0 means that the occupation is exactly as concentrated in the state as it is at the national level. The higher the LQ, the more unique the job is to that state. Going back to the example above, the LQ for petroleum engineers in Texas is 6.39, indicating that petroleum engineer jobs are more than six times more common in Texas than they are in the country as a whole.
Industries and occupations that are more concentrated in one area are often a good indicator of what drives the economy in that region. In turn, this can shed light on career opportunities that may not be available in other parts of the country.
The following map, released by CareerBuilder and Economic Modeling Specialists Intl. and designed by mental_floss magazine, uses LQ to reveal the most unique jobs in each state through 2013.
The following table provides a more in-depth look at the data behind the map.