Charlotte Works is pleased to continue Workforce by the Numbers, spotlighting workforce research from around the region. Data and analysis are provided through our partnership with the Charlotte Chamber.
Whether it’s gaming supervisors in Nevada or farm workers in California, one occupation is often associated with a region or a state more than any other. The Pew Research Center recently completed an examination of the unique job for each state.
We took this data a step further to understand the unique nuances of our region.
Based on labor force composition data from EMSI, we reviewed the location quotients for every occupation for every job in our region and each individual county. A location quotient measures the concentration of a job in a particular area relative to the national average concentration for that job. Therefore, a region’s most distinctive or unique job is the one with the highest location quotient.
Looking at the top 15 unique jobs in our region, our strong historical ties to textile manufacturing shines through. The region has six times number of textile machine setters when compared to the United States.
Credit analysts are the second unique occupation to our region, with three times the concentration of this occupation. With earnings of $38.24 per hour, this also happens to be one of the region’s higher-paying occupations.
The region also boasts one of the highest concentrations of flight attendants in the country, with more than three times the national average. With annual openings of 420, it’s also one of the fastest-growing occupations.
Let’s look at the individual counties in our region: in seven of the 10 counties that comprise the region, textile machine setter is the unique occupation. Location quotient values range from 12 in Rowan County to 34 in Gaston County for this occupation.
While Charlotte is known as a banking town, flight attendants topped the list in Mecklenburg County. Taking a little deeper dive into the data for Mecklenburg, finance and aviation are well represented:
- credit analysts rank second with five times the concentration,
- financial examiners are third with four times,
- aircraft pilots are fourth with three-and-a-half times
- and construction workers round out the top five with three times the concentration when compared to the United States.
The unique occupation in Cabarrus County is ushers, lobby attendants and ticket takers. Lowe’s Motor Speedway and other tourist-related activities create the high concentration of this occupation.
Union County’s unique occupation is metal furnace operators, tenders, pourers and casters. This is due to fact the county has 55 times more metal processing and production operations when compared to the United States.
In addition to topography, climate and history, a region’s unique occupation may serve as sense of pride for a place. The unique occupation in Indiana is boilermakers; New York has fashion designers and Maine has loggers. The economy of North Carolina (and our region) is one of the most dynamic in the country, with advanced manufacturing, healthcare, financial services and logistics all playing key roles in our diverse economy. But textile manufacturing is still what makes us unique.
Paul E. Hendershot serves as director of research at the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce. Prior to joining the Charlotte Chamber team, he worked as manager of business development in the commercial real estate department at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) and spent four years as the research director at the Dallas Regional Chamber. During his tenure with the Chamber, Hendershot completed more than 100 unique economic development projects including Comerica, AT&T, Gulfstream, Arbitron, Capital One and Research in Motion. He is also founder and chief economist of Hendershot Economics, where he defined the life sciences industry for BIOCOM, among other projects in the Greater San Diego region.
Data included in this article is inclusive of North Carolina’s Southwest Region Prosperity Zone, which includes Anson, Cabarrus, Cleveland, Gaston, Iredell, Lincoln, Mecklenburg, Rowan, Stanly and Union counties.