Like this site? We need your support to keep it running. Please donate today.

Highest to Lowest Share of Blue Collar Jobs By State

Last November, Donald Trump was elected President of the United States thanks largely to overwhelming support from working-class white voters. This has engendered a discussion about the decline of blue collar jobs in the Midwest specifically and throughout the country more broadly.

This post looks at blue collar jobs as a share of total nonfarm employment in each state. We define “blue collar jobs” as jobs that are in goods-producing sectors – manufacturing, construction, mining, and logging. In 2016, 13.7 percent of the nation’s jobs fit this description. Approximately 8.6 percent of the country’s workforce was employed in manufacturing; 4.7 percent was employed in construction; and 0.5 percent was employed in mining & logging.

However, there is significant variation in blue collar employment by state, mostly due to differences in the share of employment in manufacturing. The state with the highest proportion of blue collar jobs is Indiana, where 21.4 percent of the workforce is employed in goods-producing industries. Indiana leads the country in manufacturing employment (17.0 percent of all jobs in the state) but has below-average employment in construction, mining, and logging. The next four states are Wisconsin (19.9 percent), Iowa 18.9 percent, Alabama (17.9 percent) and Michigan (17.6 Percent). By contrast, Hawaii has just 8.0 percent of its workforce employed in blue collar jobs, and 2.2 percent in manufacturing.

The table below ranks all 50 states from highest to lowest blue-collar jobs share in 2016.

 

Blue Collar Jobs

Manufacturing

Construction

Mining & Logging

Indiana

21.4%

17.0%

4.2%

0.2%

Wisconsin

19.9%

15.9%

3.8%

0.1%

Iowa

18.9%

13.6%

5.1%

0.1%

Alabama

17.9%

13.2%

4.3%

0.5%

Michigan

17.6%

13.9%

3.6%

0.2%

Kentucky

17.6%

13.0%

4.0%

0.5%

Wyoming

17.5%

3.3%

7.5%

6.7%

Arkansas

17.2%

12.6%

4.1%

0.5%

Mississippi

16.9%

12.5%

3.9%

0.6%

North Dakota

16.6%

5.7%

7.4%

3.5%

Ohio

16.5%

12.5%

3.8%

0.2%

South Carolina

16.4%

11.6%

4.6%

0.2%

Kansas

16.2%

11.4%

4.3%

0.5%

Louisiana

16.0%

6.9%

7.1%

1.9%

Utah

15.8%

8.8%

6.4%

0.6%

Idaho

15.8%

9.3%

6.0%

0.5%

Oregon

15.6%

10.2%

4.9%

0.4%

Tennessee

15.6%

11.6%

3.9%

0.1%

North Carolina

15.5%

10.7%

4.6%

0.1%

South Dakota

15.2%

9.7%

5.3%

0.2%

Minnesota

15.2%

11.0%

4.0%

0.2%

Oklahoma

15.1%

7.8%

4.7%

2.7%

Washington

14.9%

8.9%

5.7%

0.2%

Texas

14.7%

7.0%

5.8%

1.8%

Vermont

14.7%

9.5%

4.9%

0.3%

Nebraska

14.6%

9.5%

5.0%

0.1%

New Hampshire

14.2%

10.2%

3.8%

0.1%

Pennsylvania

14.0%

9.5%

4.1%

0.4%

Missouri

13.6%

9.2%

4.2%

0.1%

Alaska

13.3%

4.0%

4.9%

4.4%

Illinois

13.3%

9.5%

3.6%

0.1%

Georgia

13.1%

8.9%

4.0%

0.2%

Maine

13.0%

8.2%

4.4%

0.4%

West Virginia

13.0%

6.2%

4.0%

2.7%

Connecticut

12.9%

9.3%

3.5%

0.0%

California

12.8%

7.9%

4.7%

0.1%

Colorado

12.3%

5.5%

6.0%

0.9%

Rhode Island

12.0%

8.2%

3.7%

0.0%

Montana

11.5%

4.2%

5.8%

1.5%

Arizona

11.3%

5.9%

5.0%

0.4%

Massachusetts

11.0%

6.9%

4.1%

0.0%

Virginia

10.9%

5.9%

4.8%

0.2%

New Mexico

10.8%

3.2%

5.2%

2.4%

Delaware

10.3%

5.7%

4.6%*

4.6%*

Nevada

10.3%

3.4%

5.9%

1.1%

Florida

10.0%

4.2%

5.6%

0.1%

Maryland

9.8%

3.8%

5.9%

0.0%

New Jersey

9.7%

5.9%

3.8%

0.0%

New York

8.8%

4.8%

4.0%

0.1%

Hawaii

8.0%

2.2%

5.8%*

5.8%*

 

Source and notes: Authors’ calculations based on data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

*For Delaware and Hawaii, data are only available on the total number of jobs in “construction, mining, & logging,” without breakdowns amongst construction vs. mining & logging jobs.

It is also worth mentioning that the states that shifted from Obama to Trump rank near the top in the share of employment in blue collar jobs. In his campaign, President Trump promised to bring the jobs lost in these states. CEPR’s Blue Collar Jobs Tracker will monitor his success in this effort.