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Fastest-growing jobs in every state

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Fastest-growing jobs in every state

“What do you want to be when you grow up?” That question often elicits charming responses from children: Maybe they love the family dog so much that they want to become a veterinarian, or have dreams of becoming a pop star just like their favorite singer. Few consider the practicality of their choice until later on. Parents and guidance counselors might urge kids to think about other factors, like the typical salary and the health of the industry. A high-paying career with lots of jobs available is a much safer bet than a long-shot career with dubious employment prospects.

One way to tell whether you’ll be able to find a job in your chosen career: Look at the growth rate for that industry in your area. To get a sense of which jobs are on the rise across the country, Stacker compiled a list of the fastest-growing jobs in each state, using data released in 2019 from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' Occupational Employment Statistics. The job with the highest employment growth rate from 2014 to 2018 was chosen for each state. Any vague groupings of jobs or jobs that had "all other" in the name were omitted from the list, as they do not reflect an accurate portrayal of one specific occupation.

To normalize differences in states with higher employed populations, jobs in states with less than 1 million people employed in total had to meet a minimum threshold of 500 workers per job in 2014; states that with over 1 million people employed had to meet a minimum threshold of 1,000 workers per job in 2014. Seven jobs on this list appeared twice and one job appeared three times.

Whether you’re actively seeking a new job or just curious about how the job market in your state is evolving, it’s undoubtedly an interesting read. Read on to find out which career path is growing the fastest in your state and discover which fast-growing job has a median salary of more than $100,000 in one state.

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Creative Tools // Flickr

Alabama: Molding, coremaking, and casting machine setters, operators, and tenders, metal and plastic

- 2014 employment: 1,600 (2014–2018 growth rate: 174.4%)
- 2017 employment: 3,960 (2017–2018 growth rate: 10.9%)
- 2018 employment: 4,390 (Median salary: $30,550)
- Total employment in state: 1,857,530

This highly technical job requires the operation of specialized machinery in an industrial setting to make thermoplastic parts or other products. Nationwide, most of these workers produce plastic products, motor vehicle parts, or molded metals, and a sizeable percentage are actually employed by temporary staffing agencies.

Monkey Business Images // Shutterstock

Alaska: Child, family, and school social workers

- 2014 employment: 1,020 (2014–2018 growth rate: 45.1%)
- 2017 employment: 1,570 (2017–2018 growth rate: -5.7%)
- 2018 employment: 1,480 (Median salary: $47,110)
- Total employment in state: 324,970

Alaska has more than 3,000 children in foster care, but the state lacks the number of social workers needed to handle the caseload. That deficit has led to emotional burnout among employees of the Department of Child Protective Services. Despite the high growth of this field, the median salary of social workers is still well below the state average of $58,710.

liz west // Flickr

Arizona: Cooks, short order

- 2014 employment: 1,200 (2014–2018 growth rate: 205.8%)
- 2017 employment: 1,540 (2017–2018 growth rate: 138.3%)
- 2018 employment: 3,670 (Median salary: $24,310)
- Total employment in state: 2,526,990

As Arizona cities like Phoenix develop a reputation for the burgeoning dining scene, cooking jobs appear to be growing. Despite the notoriously low wages, long hours, and grueling working conditions that have become notorious in the restaurant industry, the ranks of short-order cooks are swelling in Arizona.

Xbxg32000 // Wikimedia Commons

Arkansas: Graduate teaching assistants

- 2014 employment: 1,170 (2014–2018 growth rate: 170.1%)
- 2017 employment: 3,140 (2017–2018 growth rate: 0.6%)
- 2018 employment: 3,160 (Median salary: $19,330)
- Total employment in state: 1,158,790

It’s no secret that academia is a difficult field, thanks to demanding schedules, high competition, and relatively low wages. However, 2019 saw a wave of graduate student workers unionizing to demand better treatment from their universities, and UC Berkeley student workers recently won a lawsuit arguing the university cut their hours to avoid paying tuition remission.

Dragana Gordic // Shutterstock

California: Personal care aides

- 2014 employment: 99,690 (2014–2018 growth rate: 460.1%)
- 2017 employment: 520,660 (2017–2018 growth rate: 7.2%)
- 2018 employment: 558,350 (Median salary: $24,550)
- Total employment in state: 15,119,730

The duties of a personal care aide range widely, from working with elderly patients in a retirement home to helping someone with a disability conquer household chores. As the baby boomer generation ages, the demand for home caregiver jobs is exploding. A 2019 study by PHI found that around 4.7 million home care jobs will need to be filled between 2018 and 2028. Assisted living positions are expected to grow by 1.2 million jobs in the next decade.

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FrameStockFootages // Shutterstock

Colorado: Information security analysts

- 2014 employment: 1,480 (2014–2018 growth rate: 142.6%)
- 2017 employment: 2,870 (2017–2018 growth rate: 25.1%)
- 2018 employment: 3,590 (Median salary: $98,090)
- Total employment in state: 2,367,780

Keeping their employer’s computer network and systems secure is the name of the game for information security analysts. Nationwide, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that this job will grow 32% through 2028, making the outlook even more attractive to prospective IT professionals.


Connecticut: Manicurists and pedicurists

- 2014 employment: 1,760 (2014–2018 growth rate: 105.1%)
- 2017 employment: 3,110 (2017–2018 growth rate: 16.1%)
- 2018 employment: 3,610 (Median salary: $24,230)
- Total employment in state: 1,646,510

Although the massive growth of manicurist and pedicurist jobs might initially seem like good news, some economists caution that “wealth work”—service jobs that cater to more affluent customers—could only deepen income inequality. These jobs are disproportionately filled by women, immigrants, and less-skilled employees.

Lisa S. // Shutterstock

Delaware: Personal care aides

- 2014 employment: 1,140 (2014–2018 growth rate: 332.5%)
- 2017 employment: 5,350 (2017–2018 growth rate: -7.9%)
- 2018 employment: 4,930 (Median salary: $23,220)
- Total employment in state: 424,330

The job market for personal care aides isn’t only growing in Delaware and California: According to an analysis by CareerBuilder, personal care aides were among the quickest-growing jobs in 49 of 50 states. However, personal care aides also make some of the lowest wages nationwide.

VladUK // Wikimedia Commons

Florida: Captains, mates, and pilots of water vessels

- 2014 employment: 1,340 (2014–2018 growth rate: 351.5%)
- 2017 employment: 5,650 (2017–2018 growth rate: 7.1%)
- 2018 employment: 6,050 (Median salary: $62,080)
- Total employment in state: 7,665,280

Florida is the #1 state in the nation in the recreational boating economy: That industry makes up $23.3 billion of the Sunshine State’s overall economy. As sales of freshwater fishing boats, personal watercraft, pontoon boats, wake sport boats, and cruisers are all increasing year over year, this industry will likely continue to grow.

smolaw // Shutterstock

Georgia: Medical secretaries

- 2014 employment: 7,730 (2014–2018 growth rate: 170.2%)
- 2017 employment: 17,680 (2017–2018 growth rate: 18.2%)
- 2018 employment: 20,890 (Median salary: $34,440)
- Total employment in state: 3,983,250

Doctor’s offices and hospitals require a vast amount of organization to function effectively—although patients rarely ever see that side of the operation. Medical secretaries play a key role in that effort, as they’re the ones who schedule appointments, bill patients, record medical charts, and compile reports behind the scenes. The medical industry also isn’t going anywhere, which makes this job more recession-proof than a general secretary position.

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zhu difeng // Shutterstock

Hawaii: Merchandise displayers and window trimmers

- 2014 employment: 510 (2014–2018 growth rate: 100%)
- 2017 employment: 860 (2017–2018 growth rate: 18.6%)
- 2018 employment: 1,020 (Median salary: $31,890)
- Total employment in state: 612,580

When you see a gorgeous department store window or shopping display, these professionals are responsible. Despite this job’s impressive growth rate, the Wall Street Journal ranked it in the bottom half of the 800 most promising careers of the next decade, primarily because of the low wages.

National Institute of Standards and Technology // Wikimedia Commons

Idaho: Heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration mechanics and installers

- 2014 employment: 1,260 (2014–2018 growth rate: 111.1%)
- 2017 employment: 2,010 (2017–2018 growth rate: 32.3%)
- 2018 employment: 2,660 (Median salary: $41,590)
- Total employment in state: 628,140

The average person might not think much about mechanics and installers who work on heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration units, but when you need their help, you really need them. This is also a fairly dangerous job: In 2018, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 6,900 injuries and 40 fatal injuries, pushing this career into the top 25 most dangerous jobs in the country. The most common cause of these accidents? Slips and falls.


Illinois: Health specialties teachers, postsecondary

- 2014 employment: 3,160 (2014–2018 growth rate: 218.7%)
- 2017 employment: 8,790 (2017–2018 growth rate: 14.6%)
- 2018 employment: 10,070 (Median salary: $85,020)
- Total employment in state: 5,765,880

Postsecondary health specialties teachers might teach anything from dentistry to public health to therapy — importantly, this field does not cover nursing or biology. Though a professional degree or doctorate is required to teach at this level, the Bureau of Labor Statistics doesn’t expect it to be a barrier of entry. This job is projected to grow 20% nationwide through 2028.

Scott Olson // Getty Images

Indiana: Engine and other machine assemblers

- 2014 employment: 3,560 (2014–2018 growth rate: 127.2%)
- 2017 employment: 4,310 (2017–2018 growth rate: 87.7%)
- 2018 employment: 8,090 (Median salary: N/A)
- Total employment in state: 2,905,170

These workers assemble engines and other machines for construction projects, textile factories, paper manufacturing plants, and other industries. Indiana employs the third-highest number of these workers in the country, falling behind Michigan and Ohio.

Dolly442 // Wikimedia Commons

Iowa: Woodworking machine setters, operators, and tenders, except sawing

- 2014 employment: 1,080 (2014–2018 growth rate: 111.1%)
- 2017 employment: 1,940 (2017–2018 growth rate: 17.5%)
- 2018 employment: 2,280 (Median salary: $32,550)
- Total employment in state: 1,512,740

These woodworking professionals need to know how to operate a wide range of equipment, such as drill presses, lathes, shapers, routers, sanders, planers, and wood nailing machines. They typically work in furniture making, plywood production, and the assembly of other wood products.

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Kansas: Property, real estate, and community association managers

- 2014 employment: 1,310 (2014–2018 growth rate: 85.5%)
- 2017 employment: 2,160 (2017–2018 growth rate: 12.5%)
- 2018 employment: 2,430 (Median salary: $45,810)
- Total employment in state: 1,359,500

The day-to-day job of a property, real estate, or community association manager might vary quite a bit, depending on the property: The manager of an apartment complex would face very different requests from tenants than a manager of a commercial building, for instance. Still, common duties include showing vacant spaces, meeting with the owners, and inspecting the grounds.


Kentucky: Cargo and freight agents

- 2014 employment: 1,270 (2014–2018 growth rate: 133.9%)
- 2017 employment: 2,660 (2017–2018 growth rate: 11.7%)
- 2018 employment: 2,970 (Median salary: $39,500)
- Total employment in state: 1,808,010

Cargo and freight agents expedite the movement of all kinds of deliveries through airline, ship, and truck terminals. Their typical duties include arranging for the pickup of a delivery, inspecting a bill of landing, determining tariffs, and taking orders from customers. Nationwide, the transportation industry appears to be growing as e-commerce becomes a larger and larger retail force.

shopify Partners // Burst

Louisiana: Nurse practitioners

- 2014 employment: 1,250 (2014–2018 growth rate: 125.6%)
- 2017 employment: 2,420 (2017–2018 growth rate: 16.5%)
- 2018 employment: 2,820 (Median salary: $99,510)
- Total employment in state: 1,915,800

Like many other medical professionals, nurse practitioners must earn a master’s degree and pass state and national licensing exams to work in the field. With the Baby Boomer generation aging and needing an increasing amount of medical care, the entire healthcare field is expected to grow in 2020 and beyond.

SteFou! // Flickr

Maine: Cooks, fast food

- 2014 employment: 1,150 (2014–2018 growth rate: 86.1%)
- 2017 employment: 1,860 (2017–2018 growth rate: 15.1%)
- 2018 employment: 2,140 (Median salary: $22,570)
- Total employment in state: 586,390

Perhaps the fact that fast food cook is the fastest-growing job in Maine isn’t a great sign for the residents’ health. Interestingly, fast-food jobs have grown nearly twice as fast as employment nationwide since 2010, leaving many franchise owners and managers desperate to attract employees.


Maryland: Food batchmakers

- 2014 employment: 1,040 (2014–2018 growth rate: 113.5%)
- 2017 employment: 2,090 (2017–2018 growth rate: 6.2%)
- 2018 employment: 2,220 (Median salary: $30,440)
- Total employment in state: 2,557,510

Rather than a chef who works in a small bakery or restaurant kitchen, food batchmakers work in more industrial settings, like cheesemakers or confectioners. They operate equipment to blend large amounts of ingredients to produce food at the industrial level.

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22/ // Flickr

Massachusetts: Personal care aides

- 2014 employment: 26,930 (2014–2018 growth rate: 185.4%)
- 2017 employment: 73,950 (2017–2018 growth rate: 3.9%)
- 2018 employment: 76,850 (Median salary: $28,870)
- Total employment in state: 3,322,500

Like California and Delaware, Massachusetts has seen the employment numbers for personal care aides spike over the past five years. Fifteen million American adults need some degree of personal assistance at home, and this number will likely continue to grow as the massive Baby Boomer generation ages.

Morio // Wikimedia Commons

Michigan: Engine and other machine assemblers

- 2014 employment: 2,800 (2014–2018 growth rate: 233.9%)
- 2017 employment: 5,480 (2017–2018 growth rate: 70.6%)
- 2018 employment: 9,350 (Median salary: $52,350)
- Total employment in state: 4,073,730

Compared to Indiana, Michigan has a very similar job market for engine and machine assemblers. Both states have seen high growth over the past five years and even have a comparable number of jobs—though Michigan has the largest workforce of these professionals in the country.

Marco Verch // Flickr

Minnesota: Meat, poultry, and fish cutters and trimmers

- 2014 employment: 2,110 (2014–2018 growth rate: 139.8%)
- 2017 employment: 4,100 (2017–2018 growth rate: 23.4%)
- 2018 employment: 5,060 (Median salary: $31,370)
- Total employment in state: 2,730,020

Most meat, poultry, and fish cutters and trimmers work in slaughterhouses or large-scale butchering operations, but the second-highest number work in specialty shops or grocery stores. At the national level, this industry is particularly important to rural communities.

Raiffeisenverband Salzburg // Wikimedia Commons

Mississippi: Market research analysts and marketing specialists

- 2014 employment: 1,060 (2014–2018 growth rate: 133%)
- 2017 employment: 1,670 (2017–2018 growth rate: 47.9%)
- 2018 employment: 2,470 (Median salary: $40,080)
- Total employment in state: 1,094,070

Market research analysts and marketing specialists might work for any industry—finance, retail, consumer goods, beauty, and pretty much any other industry you can think of all require these employees. Marketing jobs overall appear to be on the rise nationwide as retail becomes an increasingly profitable industry.


Missouri: Chemical equipment operators and tenders

- 2014 employment: 1,220 (2014–2018 growth rate: 147.5%)
- 2017 employment: 2,630 (2017–2018 growth rate: 14.8%)
- 2018 employment: 3,020 (Median salary: $41,550)
- Total employment in state: 2,673,640

These professionals might operate machinery like devulcanizers, steam-jacketed kettles, and reactor vessels in chemical, pharmaceutical, petroleum, or aluminum manufacturing operations. According to a report from the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, the biopharma industry, in particular, has shown strong economic growth with high wages for workers, even as the overall manufacturing industry slows.

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27/ // Shutterstock

Montana: Home health aides

- 2014 employment: 610 (2014–2018 growth rate: 157.4%)
- 2017 employment: 1,420 (2017–2018 growth rate: 10.6%)
- 2018 employment: 1,570 (Median salary: $25,360)
- Total employment in state: 443,330

Though this career is like that of a personal care aide, home health aides focus specifically on the medical needs of their clients. They might do anything from changing bandages to administering medications to monitoring the overall health of the people in their care.

Arjuna Kodisinghe // Shutterstock

Nebraska: Computer network support specialists

- 2014 employment: 950 (2014–2018 growth rate: 126.3%)
- 2017 employment: 1,930 (2017–2018 growth rate: 11.4%)
- 2018 employment: 2,150 (Median salary: $52,320)
- Total employment in state: 942,950

Who do you go to when your laptop can’t connect to the office network? A computer network support specialist. Whether you need their help with your Internet connection or local area network, these professionals provide invaluable support to those of us who use computers every day. And in a day and age where computers are an essential part of almost every industry, these specialists will likely become even more crucial.

Riverview Homes Inc // Wikimedia Commons

Nevada: Drywall and ceiling tile installers

- 2014 employment: 1,090 (2014–2018 growth rate: 156%)
- 2017 employment: 2,210 (2017–2018 growth rate: 26.2%)
- 2018 employment: 2,790 (Median salary: $37,720)
- Total employment in state: 1,189,610

Though the construction industry especially well entrenched in northern Nevada, it’s growing statewide: From 2018 to 2019, statewide construction employment increased by nearly 12%. That’s about 10,500 new jobs—some of which were drywall and ceiling tile installers.

Watershed Post // Wikimedia Commons

New Hampshire: Packers and packagers, hand

- 2014 employment: 1,990 (2014–2018 growth rate: 105.5%)
- 2017 employment: 2,760 (2017–2018 growth rate: 48.2%)
- 2018 employment: 4,090 (Median salary: $23,310)
- Total employment in state: 627,000

Hand packers and packagers do a wide variety of settings, from factories and warehouses to slaughterhouses and food and beverage stores. Though this job grew in New Hampshire over the past five years, it’s one career most threatened by the rise of artificial intelligence and robotics in factories.

Vadim Ratniko // Shutterstock

New Jersey: Highway maintenance workers

- 2014 employment: 1,860 (2014–2018 growth rate: 122%)
- 2017 employment: 3,390 (2017–2018 growth rate: 21.8%)
- 2018 employment: 4,130 (Median salary: $44,270)
- Total employment in state: 3,869,260

When you can spot potholes or rough asphalt on the highway, you can bet that these skilled workers will be called out to repair it soon. This job category also includes people who operate snow plows on roadways, which is certainly part of the job of highway maintenance workers in Northeastern states like New Jersey. Congress is likely to take up a multiyear highway funding bill in 2020, which could lead to changes in funding for jobs at the state level.

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Natee Meepian // Shutterstock

New Mexico: Financial analysts

- 2014 employment: 500 (2014–2018 growth rate: 102%)
- 2017 employment: 730 (2017–2018 growth rate: 38.4%)
- 2018 employment: 1,010 (Median salary: $79,830)
- Total employment in state: 788,000

Eastern New Mexico pays financial analysts the second-highest annual mean wage in the nation, excluding large cities. Though the job growth is attractive, prospective employees might want to consider the longer-than-average hours. One in three financial analysts works 50-to-70 hours per week.

Dave Dugdale // Wikimedia Commons

New York: Financial examiners

- 2014 employment: 3,110 (2014–2018 growth rate: 190.4%)
- 2017 employment: 6,800 (2017–2018 growth rate: 32.8%)
- 2018 employment: 9,030 (Median salary: $101,450)
- Total employment in state: 8,810,950

Given that New York City is such a prominent hub for the finance industry, it’s unsurprising that the employment outlook for financial examiners is on such a rise. Over 755,000 people worked in finance in the New York metropolitan area in 2019. Financial examiners ensure institutions are compliant with the law.


North Carolina: Financial examiners

- 2014 employment: 1,260 (2014–2018 growth rate: 223%)
- 2017 employment: 2,800 (2017–2018 growth rate: 45.4%)
- 2018 employment: 4,070 (Median salary: $62,410)
- Total employment in state: 4,030,880

Though it may not be what typically comes to mind when you think of finance, North Carolina is increasingly becoming known as a hub for the industry. MetLife, Credit Suisse, and Fidelity all have offices in the state, and over 337,000 North Carolinians work in finance.

Jacob Lund // Shutterstock

North Dakota: Fitness trainers and aerobics instructors

- 2014 employment: 660 (2014–2018 growth rate: 165.2%)
- 2017 employment: 1,110 (2017–2018 growth rate: 57.7%)
- 2018 employment: 1,750 (Median salary: $31,310)
- Total employment in state: 440,420

Like manicurists and pedicurists, fitness trainers and instructors fall into the category of “wealth workers” catering toward patrons with more disposable income. From 2010 to 2017, the number of fitness trainers grew more than twice as fast as the national labor force.

Picsfive // Shutterstock

Ohio: Food cooking machine operators and tenders

- 2014 employment: 1,010 (2014–2018 growth rate: 125.7%)
- 2017 employment: 2,140 (2017–2018 growth rate: 6.5%)
- 2018 employment: 2,280 (Median salary: $34,500)
- Total employment in state: 5,200,880

These employees operate cooking machinery in large-scale bakeries, slaughterhouses, canneries, and other food-focused factories. In 2018, Ohio factories produced $11.64 billion in food and beverage products. Preserves, teas, coffee, condiments, roasted nuts, and beverages were some of the most common products.

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TheeErin // Flickr

Oklahoma: Cooks, short order

- 2014 employment: 1,160 (2014–2018 growth rate: 286.2%)
- 2017 employment: 3,690 (2017–2018 growth rate: 21.4%)
- 2018 employment: 4,480 (Median salary: $19,380)
- Total employment in state: 1,577,330

Short-order cooks prepare food to order in bars, restaurants, and other service establishments—if you’ve ever ordered a burger at a fair, it’s likely that it was prepared by a short order cook. Due to ever-increasing demand for new restaurants, employment for cooks recently reached the nationwide high of 2.4 million people.


Oregon: Electronics engineers, except computer

- 2014 employment: 1,850 (2014–2018 growth rate: 196.2%)
- 2017 employment: 2,460 (2017–2018 growth rate: 122.8%)
- 2018 employment: 5,480 (Median salary: $86,520)
- Total employment in state: 1,683,470

Electronics engineers—excluding those who work on computers—might work in fields like aerospace, telecommunications, or architecture. The salary varies depending on the field: For instance, aerospace engineers typically draw higher salaries than mechanical engineers or industrial engineers.

Bureau of Land Management // Flickr

Pennsylvania: Service unit operators, oil, gas, and mining

- 2014 employment: 1,390 (2014–2018 growth rate: 124.5%)
- 2017 employment: 1,740 (2017–2018 growth rate: 79.3%)
- 2018 employment: 3,120 (Median salary: $42,400)
- Total employment in state: 5,653,840

Pennsylvania is the second-largest natural gas producer and third-largest coal producer in the United States, so it makes sense that the state also requires a large amount of service unit operators for these industries. Though the share of its energy that Pennsylvania derives from coal is falling, the share from natural gas more than doubled from 2010 to 2018.

מכללת אורט סינגאלובסקי // Wikimedia Commons

Rhode Island: Heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration mechanics and installers

- 2014 employment: 580 (2014–2018 growth rate: 132.8%)
- 2017 employment: Data not available (2017–2018 growth rate: Data not available)
- 2018 employment: 1,350 (Median salary: $52,980)
- Total employment in state: 463,930

Similar to Idaho, Rhode Island’s fastest-growing job is heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration mechanics and installers. HVAC experts typically see especially busy workdays when the weather is at one extreme or another, such as frigid temps in the winter and heat waves during the summer.

41/ // Pexels

South Carolina: Securities, commodities, and financial services sales agents

- 2014 employment: 1,410 (2014–2018 growth rate: 124.1%)
- 2017 employment: 2,600 (2017–2018 growth rate: 21.5%)
- 2018 employment: 3,160 (Median salary: $49,240)
- Total employment in state: 1,876,480

These sales people not only sell securities or commodities to their customers, but might also advise them on stocks, bonds, and market conditions. After BB&T and SunTrust merged and set their joint headquarters in Charlotte, the city became an even bigger finance stronghold in the South. It was already home to large Bank of America and Wells Fargo outposts.

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Helloquence // Unsplash

South Dakota: Market research analysts and marketing specialists

- 2014 employment: 560 (2014–2018 growth rate: 67.9%)
- 2017 employment: 790 (2017–2018 growth rate: 19%)
- 2018 employment: 940 (Median salary: $51,750)
- Total employment in state: 409,250

Ever answered a survey from a brand hoping to win a gift card? You might have given a market research analyst the information they need to better target customers like you in the future. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that this job will grow nationwide by 23% through 2026 as businesses become more and more excited about using data to advertise to consumers.


Tennessee: Multiple machine tool setters, operators, and tenders, metal and plastic

- 2014 employment: 2,090 (2014–2018 growth rate: 168.4%)
- 2017 employment: 5,500 (2017–2018 growth rate: 2%)
- 2018 employment: 5,610 (Median salary: $31,090)
- Total employment in state: 2,749,480

These machine operators and tool setters might manufacture a variety of different things, depending on the industry: They’re needed to produce motor vehicle parts, fabricated metal products, and some plastic parts. Like other blue-collar jobs, employees with this job are at risk as companies increasingly rely on robotics and other smart devices to run their factories.

science photo // Shutterstock

Texas: Graders and sorters, agricultural products

- 2014 employment: 2,040 (2014–2018 growth rate: 171.6%)
- 2017 employment: 4,790 (2017–2018 growth rate: 15.7%)
- 2018 employment: 5,540 (Median salary: $23,800)
- Total employment in state: 11,228,940

Graders and sorters could work with all kinds of different crops, but in Texas, some of the most common are cotton, corn, feed grains, rice, and wheat. Texas has more farms and ranches than any other state, and the economic impact of the food and fiber industry in the state is a whopping $100 billion.

Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement // Flickr

Utah: Helper, production workers

- 2014 employment: 2,530 (2014–2018 growth rate: 142.3%)
- 2017 employment: 4,680 (2017–2018 growth rate: 31%)
- 2018 employment: 6,130 (Median salary: $23,760)
- Total employment in state: 1,280,660

This somewhat vague job title could refer to any less-skilled worker who assists more senior or skilled workers with production in a wide range of industries, from animal slaughtering to printing. The vast majority of these workers are employed through temporary employment agencies.

Africa Studio // Shutterstock

Vermont: Medical secretaries

- 2014 employment: 810 (2014–2018 growth rate: 128.4%)
- 2017 employment: 1,230 (2017–2018 growth rate: 50.4%)
- 2018 employment: 1,850 (Median salary: $38,230)
- Total employment in state: 301,050

Health care makes up a massive portion of Vermont’s economy—about 18.5% of the gross state product, according to the Green Mountain Care Board. Medical secretaries will likely be in demand over the next several years, as well. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that the career will grow 26.5% between 2016 and 2026 at the national level.

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Ashley James // Pexels

Virginia: Manicurists and pedicurists

- 2014 employment: 1,690 (2014–2018 growth rate: 119.5%)
- 2017 employment: 3,270 (2017–2018 growth rate: 13.5%)
- 2018 employment: 3,710 (Median salary: $22,770)
- Total employment in state: 3,648,490

Both Connecticut and Virginia saw the job of manicurist and pedicurist grow the fastest over the past five years—and both states rank in the top 10 wealthiest in the country. Residents’ disposable income has likely caused this low-paying beauty industry job to grow more than other jobs requiring a higher level of skill.

Amtec Photos // Flickr

Washington: Eligibility interviewers, government programs

- 2014 employment: 1,670 (2014–2018 growth rate: 112%)
- 2017 employment: 3,540 (2017–2018 growth rate: 0%)
- 2018 employment: 3,540 (Median salary: $50,120)
- Total employment in state: 2,898,350

When you apply for food stamps, Social Security benefits, or another government program, an eligibility interviewer will determine whether you are legally permitted to receive those benefits. Since the government employs these workers, their salaries come out of the state’s budget—meaning there’s very little wiggle room for managers to hire new employees without approval from higher-ranking government officials or the legislature.

NeONBRAND // Pexels

West Virginia: Substitute teachers

- 2014 employment: 710 (2014–2018 growth rate: 694.4%)
- 2017 employment: 3,190 (2017–2018 growth rate: 76.8%)
- 2018 employment: 5,640 (Median salary: $35,660)
- Total employment in state: 707,720

West Virginia has the fastest-growing job of any state on this list, as the number of substitute teachers there skyrocketed almost 700% between 2014 and 2018. In West Virginia, you must have a bachelor’s degree and meet the minimum GPA requirement to substitute teach.

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Wisconsin: Psychiatric technicians

- 2014 employment: 1,090 (2014–2018 growth rate: 250.5%)
- 2017 employment: 3,200 (2017–2018 growth rate: 19.4%)
- 2018 employment: 3,820 (Median salary: $33,760)
- Total employment in state: 2,727,860

Psychiatric technicians work alongside doctors and nurses to care for patients with mental and emotional conditions, often in hospitals or residential facilities. Their daily duties might range from administering medications to helping patients with personal hygiene to working with physical therapists.

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Wyoming: Childcare workers

- 2014 employment: 1,200 (2014–2018 growth rate: 50%)
- 2017 employment: 1,800 (2017–2018 growth rate: 0%)
- 2018 employment: 1,800 (Median salary: $23,940)
- Total employment in state: 282,690

Whether they work in daycare centers, after-school programs, or even their own homes, childcare workers have become the fastest-growing job in Wyoming. Though they work with children, these professionals aren’t early childhood educators: You need an advanced degree to pursue that career. However, some pundits are calling to remove those barriers, as we’re facing a shortage of preschool teachers and educators nationwide.

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