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Interactive Map Shows the Location of Most Jobs in the US


Robert Manduca, a PhD student studying sociology and social policy at Harvard, has created an interactive map that plots 96 percent of the jobs in America according to category and location.

Screenshot of Manduca's Interactive Job Map

(A Screenshot of Manduca’s Interactive Job Map)

Manduca’s visualization of the country’s workforce was inspired by the Race Dot Map, a pointillist, color-coded rendering of every person in America based on race, created by Dustin Cable and the Cooper Center at the University of Virginia

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“We talk a lot about jobs in this country,” Manduca notes. “…[J]obs created, jobs lost, good jobs, bad jobs. But where are these jobs, exactly?” 

To show us, he took the Census Bureau’s massive 2010 Longitudinal Employer-Household Dynamics (LEHD) dataset, and transformed it into visual, digital form.

According to the Census Bureau, the LEHD data reflects all jobs accounted for by state unemployment insurance (UI) programs, but does not include “military, self-employed workers, informally employed people, and several other specific classes of workers.” Some but not all federal employees are represented because of national security reasons.

Some locations also aren’t represented on the map — Massachusetts, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, for example — because they haven’t contributed their employment data to LEHD. Some specific jobs are also missing for the same reason, or because they are federal government positions not included in the census data for security reasons. 

In spite of these omissions, the data represents an estimated 96 percent of the country’s total “civilian wage and salary jobs,” according to the Census Bureau.

Each job on Manduca’s visualization is represented by one color-coded dot on the map, “allowing us to see how different industries and sectors exhibit different spatial patterns – some clustering in downtowns, others spreading across city and suburbs alike,” Manduca explains. 

The jobs are represented according to the following colors, categories, and sub-categories:

Red = Manufacturing and Trade: (Agriculture and Forestry); (Mining); (Utilities);(Construction); (Manufacturing); (Wholesale Trade): (Transportation and Warehousing)

Blue = Professional Services: (Information); (Finance and Insurance); (Real Estate);(Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services); (Management of Companies and Enterprises)

Green = Healthcare, Education, and Government: (Educational Services); (Health Care); (Other Services – largely Religious, Grant-making, Civic, Professional, and Similar Organizations)

Yellow = Retail, Hospitality, and Other Services: (Retail Trade); (Administrative and Support Services); (Arts, Entertainment, and Recreation – largely Amusement, Gambling, and Recreation); (Accommodation and Food Services)

The visual patterns that emerge are logical yet fascinating. In Nevada, for example, the Vegas Strip is bombarded with yellow dots, illustrating the large quantity of retail and hospitality jobs. In Illinois, the Chicago Loop is saturated with blue dots, indicating professional services job, whereas red dots reflecting manufacturing and trade jobs are more prevalent near the rail lines on the outskirts of the city. 

“These kinds of maps are great when you’re talking about individuals,” Manduca told Business Insider. “Especially when you’re talking about jobs, because jobs are more concentrated than people. It gets across how tightly packed they are in many U.S. cities.” 

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