What Job Defines Your State?


Posted by Heidi Schwartz

In the sprawling United States economy, the types of jobs that define entire regions are as diverse as the geographies that shape borders and the people who live within them. Simply put, there are some jobs you can only seem to find in certain places. Using a measurement called location quotient (LQ), CareerBuilder and Economic Modeling Specialists Intl. (a division of CareerBuilder) reveal the occupation that is most unique to each state through 2013.

“The occupations on this map reflect what makes our national economy so diverse,” said Matt Ferguson, CEO of CareerBuilder and co-author of The Talent Equation. “Many of the most concentrated jobs represent well-known, longstanding regional industries, while others may come as a genuine surprise. They are rarely among the largest occupations in a state, but are often the most identifiable.”

The following table indicates the results of the survey:

*Occupations that say “all other” represent a catchall category for jobs in a particular field not individually classified.

As the data in the table above indicates, an occupation need not have a large number of jobs to earn a high LQ. For instance, there were 3.1 million jobs in Indiana as of 2013, but only 2,686 are boilermakers – making up just .09 percent of the statewide workforce. However, about one out of every seven boilermaker jobs in the country are located in Indiana.

Defining LQ

LQ measures job concentration. For example, one can effectively say that petroleum engineers are six times as concentrated in Texas as they are anywhere else in the United States on average.

For this analysis, LQ compares the percentage share of a state’s workforce in a given occupation to the percentage share of the nationwide workforce in that occupation. A location quotient of 1.0 means that percent employment for the state matches the nation. Jobs in retail, health care, and local government are typically the most common jobs in each state or metropolitan area, because every local economy needs a significant amount of these workers. These occupations tend to have an LQ near 1.0 in most places.

On the other hand, a high LQ is very useful for identifying what makes a regional job market tick.

“Concentrated occupations are typically tied to an industry that drives a regional economy,” said Andrew Crapuchettes, CEO of EMSI.  “Oftentimes, these jobs generate exports and wealth for cities and states and are directly tied to job growth in supporting service sectors.”

Check out the infographic below for a quick breakdown of each state and its corresponding job.

Map of jobs infographic.
Infographic: www.mentalfloss.com/uniquejobs (PRNewsFoto/CareerBuilder)