INFOGRAPHIC: Which Job is Most Unique to Your State?

state flags of the united states

By Matt Tarpey, CareerBuilder writer

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.

StateOccupationLQJobs 2013Med. Hourly Earnings
AlabamaTire Builders7.751,900$24.55
AlaskaFishers & Related Fishing Workers33.562,901$16.85
ArizonaSemiconductor Processors4.191,640$15.32
ArkansasFood Processing Workers6.782,303$10.59
ColoradoAtmospheric & Space Scientists7.761,510$49.34
Connecticut Actuaries4.161,141$51.22
D.C.Political Scientists86.613,197$55.64
FloridaMotorboat Operators5.921,315$14.17
GeorgiaTextile Winding, Twisting, & Drawing Out Machine Setters, Operators, & Tenders10.528,607$13.03
HawaiiTour Guides & Escorts8.551,687$12.82
IdahoForest & Conservation Technicians14.22,273$15.06
Illinois Correspondence Clerks3.931,727$19.88
IowaSoil & Plant Scientists8.941,574$30.05
KansasUmpires, Referees, Other Sports Officials5.421,216$11.16
Kentucky Roof Bolters, Mining14.141,184$25.65
Louisiana Captains, Mates, & Pilots of Water Vessels17.28,857$34.88
MaineFishers & Related Fishing Workers27.314,070$17.52
MarylandSubway & Streetcar Operators10.411,884$25.43
MassachusettsPsychiatric Technicians4.868,202$17.52
MichiganModel Makers, Metal & Plastic6.231,095$24.72
MinnesotaSlaughterers & Meat Packers4.827,619$12.80
MississippiCoil Winders, Tapers, & Finishers11.181,340$18.87
MissouriFood and Tobacco Roasting, Baking, & Drying Machine Operators & Tenders5.582,303$12.37
MontanaForest & Conservation Technicians19.412,200$15.05
NebraskaMeat, Poultry, and Fish Cutters & Trimmers9.9211,453$13.58
NevadaGaming Supervisors30.917,414$25.40
New HampshireMetal Workers & Plastic Workers, All Other10.051,020$14.40
New JerseyBiochemists & Biophysicists4.713,628$50.38
New MexicoWellhead Pumpers13.751,358$22.50
New YorkFashion Designers5.187,164$32.27
North CarolinaTextile Winding, Twisting, & Drawing Out Machine Setters, Operators, & Tenders7.636,394$11.12
North DakotaDerrick Operators, Oil & Gas28.212,137$26.65
OhioRolling Machine Setters, Operators, and Tenders, Metal & Plastic3.534,778$17.21
OklahomaWellhead Pumpers8.661,671$20.51
OregonLogging Workers, all other21.241,400$16.57
PennsylvaniaSurvey Researchers3.542,776$13.09
Rhode IslandEducation, Training, & Library Workers3.041,062$20.42
South CarolinaTextile Knitting and Weaving Machine Setters, Operators, & Tenders10.993,220$13.70
South DakotaFarmers, Ranchers, and Other Agricultural Managers9.4214,827$12.78
TennesseeConveyor Operators & Tenders4.253,486$13.73
TexasPetroleum Engineers6.3921,457$66.80
UtahForest & Conservation Technicians4.41,362$13.46
VermontHighway Maintenance Workers3.991,364$16.88
VirginiaLegal Support Workers, All Other5.759,039$43.50
WashingtonAircraft Structure, Surfaces, Rigging, & Systems Assemblers14.2113,535$23.09
West VirginiaRoof Bolters, Mining66.292,129$26.84
WisconsinFoundry Mold & Coremakers5.471,351$15.72
WyomingRotary Drill Operators, Oil & Gas28.01,566$27.05
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