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Interactive Map: What’s the Most Common Uncommon Job in Your State?


The most popular jobs in a given geographic area are usually pretty unsurprising, including titles like cashier, waitstaff, and customer service representative. It’s not that there’s anything wrong with these jobs; it’s just that their very commonness means that you’re used to hearing about them. But, what about the unusual jobs that are more common in one place than another – the helicopter pilots and professional gardeners and amusement park attendants? Those are the gigs PayScale looked at in a section of its latest data package on the best jobs for you. If you want a job that’s common where you live, but uncommon anywhere else, start with this map.


(Photo Credit: Castles, Capes & Clones/Flickr)

What makes these relatively unusual jobs more commonplace in certain areas? In short, local economies. It makes sense that California, home of Disneyland and other theme parks, would have a lock on amusement park staff, and that Nevada would have more gaming dealers than other states. Similarly, New York State seems like a natural place to find associate fashion designers, and Virginia – with its proximity to DC – is the spot to find senior intelligence analysts.

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But not every most common uncommon job is a gimme. Would you have predicted that agronomists rule in North Dakota, or that reservoir engineers are relatively easy to find in Texas?

Furthermore, it’s interesting to see which type of job dominates in a given area. PayScale’s map sorts jobs into segments like healthcare and social services, management, transportation, education, and a quick look at the map shows that types of jobs sometimes cluster in geographic regions. STEM jobs like mining engineer and stress engineer group together where the mountains meet the plains in Wyoming, Colorado, and Kansas; healthcare and social service jobs like X-ray tech, clinical trial assistant, and early intervention specialist crop up in the southeast in Tennessee, North Carolina, and South Carolina.

What can you learn from this map? Well, for one thing, it’s a good reminder that we might live in a global world, but we often work locally. It’s also an interesting insight into the less-talked-about jobs that your neighbors might be doing right now.

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Do you have the most common job in your state? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.

Jen Hubley Luckwaldt
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