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July 22, 2018

Florida Trend Special Report: Workforce 2017

Talent Hot Spots: Florida employment 'Location Quotient' 2016

Mike Vogel | 8/2/2017

To find concentrations of particular talents in Florida, Florida Trend used data from the state Department of Economic Opportunity — what’s called the Location Quotient for occupations throughout Florida in 2016. It measures the concentrations of particular workers in Florida’s counties.

The most concentrated occupations can reveal a lot about a region’s economy. The importance of theme parks and tourism in the Orlando area is reflected in the prevalence of ride operators and entertainers. You can find the home of Florida’s nuclear power plants just by seeing where the nuclear engineers and power plant operators concentrate. Gainesville’s leader board is replete with post-secondary teachers of every stripe. The importance of forestry and ag-related jobs can be seen in the concentrations for rural counties.

Fields that employ a lot of people tend to be evenly distributed throughout the state — retail clerks, retail supervisors, cashiers. But CEOs and chiropractors also are distributed evenly. Occupations that employ few can produce outsized numbers: Tampa Bay has five times the state share of astronomers, but it would be a mistake to go looking for one on every street corner. In general, occupational concentration tends to be less dramatic in the state’s most populous counties.

And there are curious results. Orthodontists are nearly invisible across Florida’s northern counties, including Duval. But the Gainesville area has six times the state average — and there are also high concentrations of orthodontists in Polk County, Bay, Franklin and Gulf counties in the Panhandle and in Brevard. By contrast, orthodontists aren’t very concentrated at all in Indian River, Martin and St. Lucie — perhaps reflecting a population in two of those three counties that’s generally past the traditional years for braces. But the same region has triple the share of pediatricians. “Shampooer” as an occupation is barely visible through much of the state, but Palm Beach County has four times the state share in that job.

» For the curious, the full, downloadable spreadsheet of the 2016 Location Quotient is available here.

Occupational Clusters

The jobs listed under the counties’ names are those over-represented in the counties’ workforces.


  • Wood Model Makers
  • Shoe Machine Operators
  • Flight attendants
  • Airline pilots
  • Nuclear power workers

No doubt wood model makers in Miami — present in the workforce at seven times the state average — include people making scale models of things, but more likely they’re building jigs in construction or “loft” workers in the boat-building and equipping industry. Miami’s long history in the apparel industry is reflected in the presence of shoe machine operators at seven times the state average. Other over-represented jobs reflect Miami’s aviation industry — airline pilots and flight attendants; the Turkey Point nuclear power plant and urban life — mass transit operators.


  • Fish and Game Wardens
  • Forest and conservation workers
  • Sociologists
  • Respiratory therapist techs
  • Gaming industry workers

Fish and game wardens top the Broward outlier list, present at 10 times the state average, followed by forest and conservation workers at six times the average — a reminder that super-urbanized Broward County is about two-thirds Everglades and tribe reservation. Other outliers are distributed across industries. One big standout: Gambling industry workers, reflecting two tribal casinos plus pari-mutuels. Goings and comings: Embalmers are here are 3.6 times the state average; nurse midwives, 2.4 times the average.

Palm Beach County

  • Animal breeders
  • Psychiatric aides
  • Aerospace techs
  • Shampooers
  • Oral surgeons

Animal breeders — the equestrian industry is huge here, as is agriculture in general — lead at 11.7 times the state average. Palm Beach is one of the few places in Florida with a disproportionate number of shampooers and locker, coat and dressing room attendants. The aviation and tech industry account for outliers in aerospace and aircraft structure workers. The county has an outsized presence of umpires and sports officials, bridge tenders, career and technical ed teachers and dancers.

Indian River, Martin and St. Lucie

  • Farmers, ranchers and agriculture managers
  • Aircraft structure assemblers
  • Fiberglass laminators and fabricators
  • Nuclear power reactor operators
  • Pesticide handlers
  • Tax preparers

Farmers, ranchers and ag managers occur 13 times the state average, and ag industry jobs of other types beat the state averages. The area’s aviation-related companies — well-known Piper and aviation industry suppliers — show up in occupations, as does the St. Lucie nuclear power plant. The area’s list includes above-average numbers of tax preparers and fast-food cooks.

DeSoto, Hardee, Highlands and Okeechobee

  • Farm labor contractors
  • Farmers, ranchers and agricultural managers
  • Ag equipment operators
  • Pump operators
  • Slaughterers and meat packers
  • RV servicing techs

It’s no surprise that farm labor contractors tops the list at 50 times the state average, followed by a list of other ag-related occupations and RV technicians.

Manatee and Sarasota

  • Models
  • Explosives workers
  • Gaming service workers
  • Cooling and freezing equipment operators
  • Entertainers

Models are a dime a dozen in South Beach in Miami, but they’re the leading outlier here — at 16.6 times the state average, followed closely by explosives workers. Highly skilled trades and factory workers of various stripes — freezing equipment operators, boilermakers — are over-prevalent, as are occupational therapy aides and entertainers.


  • Wind turbine service techs
  • Mining machine operators
  • Manufactured building installers
  • Continuous mining machine operators
  • Dredge operators
  • Ag and food science techs

A head-scratcher. Wind turbine service techs are here at 38.4 times the state average. Given that the state has no sizable wind generation plant, it’s not a high bar. The phosphate industry accounts for many of the area’s above-state-average numbers of mining jobs. Mobile home installer also ranks high.

Hillsborough and Pinellas

  • Private household cooks
  • Astronomers
  • Mathematical science occupations
  • Metal pourers and casters
  • Metal refining furnace operators

Who knew? The area has an inordinate presence of private household cooks — 6.5 times the state average — and 5.5 times the average number of astronomers. Universities and colleges account for the number of scientists and mathematicians. Other outliers: Above-average numbers of barbers, metal-refining furnace operators and pre-school special ed teachers.


  • Aerospace engineers
  • Semiconductor processors
  • Aerospace engineering techs
  • Textile bleaching and dyeing machine operators
  • Ag workers
  • Computer hardware engineers
  • Mathematicians

The list reflects a high-tech talent hotbed. Aerospace engineers number 17 times the state average. Brevard has above-average numbers of ag workers, orthodontists and janitors, but the outlier list reflects tons of brainpower and super-skilled applied science labor: Semiconductor processors, engineers of all types, engineering techs, software developers, mathematicians.

Lake, Orange, Osceola, Seminole, Sumter

  • Prosthodontists
  • Actors
  • Artists and related workers
  • Terrazzo workers
  • Costume attendants

The list reflects the area’s dominant tourism economy. Prosthodontists lead the list, but it’s also replete with actors, artists, costume attendants, concierges, tour and travel guides, ride attendants, craft artists, entertainers, personal care workers, bus drivers, bellhops. Throw in some Terrazzo installers.

Flagler, Volusia

  • Timing device assemblers and adjusters
  • Milling and planing machine setters
  • Forging machine setters
  • Non-garment fabric menders
  • Etchers and engravers

Timing device assemblers and adjusters, precision workers largely in the medical device and electronic controls and navigation industries, occur at 23.5 times the state average. This region’s above-average concentrations feature a diverse set of fields: Milling and planing, forging machine setters, etchers and engravers and highway maintenance workers. Plus, door-to-door salespeople and street vendors.

Citrus, Levy and Marion

  • Quarry rock splitters
  • Furnace, kiln operators
  • Pumping operators
  • Farmworkers
  • Nuclear techs
  • Nuclear power reactor operators
  • Nuclear engineers
  • Explosives workers
  • Animal trainers

Major industrial and resource work. Quarry rock splitters tops at 58.7 times the state average, followed by fields such as furnace kiln operators, pump operators, farmworkers, tank car loaders and nuclear plant workers.

Alachua and Bradford

  • Post-secondary forest and conservation science teachers
  • Post-secondary area, ethnic and cultural studies teachers
  • Post-secondary agriculture science teachers
  • Animal scientists
  • Graduate teaching assistants
  • Athletes and sports competitors

The University of Florida’s presence overwhelms the list with all types of post-secondary teachers and scientists. Graduate school teaching assistant ranks high, as do athletes and athletic trainers.

Baker, Clay, Duval, Nassau, Putnam, St. Johns

  • Fallers
  • Rail yard engineers, dinkey operators and hostlers
  • Loggers
  • Wood patternmakers
  • Hand sewers
  • Tire builders
  • Oil and gas roustabouts
  • Pile-driver operators

The area’s economy is mirrored in the over-representation of logging industry occupations — fallers are here at nearly 11 times the state average — and those in railroad work. Watch repairers, manicurists and pedicurists and public address announcers also are over-represented.

Hamilton, Jefferson, Lafayette, Madison, Suwannee, Taylor

  • Log graders and scalers
  • Logging equipment operators
  • Mine cutting machine operators 
  • Ag workers
  • Slaughterers and meat packers
  • Millwrights
  • First-line correctional supervisors

Again, the logging industry. Log graders, who estimate the value of logs and pulpwood, are here at 110 times the state average. Other logging occupations, plus agriculture jobs show up as does the region’s prison industry in the form of above-average numbers of first-line correctional supervisors.

Gadsden, Leon, Wakulla

  • Industrial organizational psychologists 
  • Mathematical technicians
  • Post-secondary library science teachers
  • Post-secondary geography teachers
  • Judicial law clerks
  • Economists
  • Occupational therapy aides

Industrial organizational psychologists are here at 48.7 times the state average. FSU and FAMU make their presence felt in various university professor specialties and in nearly 13 times the state average for graduate teaching assistants. Hosting the state capital explains the inordinate number of tax examiners, revenue agents and administrative law judges.

Bay, Franklin and Gulf

  • Wood pattern-makers
  • Material moving workers
  • Mathematicians
  • Barbers
  • Fishers and fishing workers
  • Loggers

Wood pattern-makers, a casting related trade, are here at 42.8 times the state average. Three workers account for all that. The region also has an over-representation of mathematicians, barbers, fishing industry workers, computer scientists and costume attendants.

Calhoun, Holmes, Jackson, Liberty, Washington

  • Conveyor operators and tenders
  • Agricultural Inspectors
  • Animal scientists
  • Logging equipment operators
  • First-line corrections supervisors
  • Highway maintenance workers

Resource industries and jails. Conveyor operators and tenders top at 67 times the state average. Ag inspectors are 44 times the average. Logging workers are over-represented too, as are corrections supervisors and, at 17 times the state average, correctional officers and jailers.

Okaloosa and Walton

Political scientists

  • Computer and information research scientists 
  • Precision instrument and equipment repairers
  • Historians
  • Fishers and related fishing workers
  • Explosives workers
  • Technical writers
  • Non-flight transportation attendants
  • Engineers

A head-scratcher: Political scientists are present here at 32 times the state average. It’s 12 people. CareerSource Okaloosa/Walton Executive Director Michele Burns says most work in national security. The area is home to the 96th Test Wing Research and Development, which also accounts for the area’s over-representation of engineering, computer research and technical writer talent. There are also above average amounts of historians, fishing industry workers and music directors and composers.

Escambia and Santa Rosa

  • Extruding and forming machine operators
  • Engine and other machine assemblers
  • Hoist and winch operators

The operators of fiber-extruding machines number 30.7 times the state average — likely because of an Escambia County manufacturer of fiber and other products for industry. A variety of chemical industry occupations are prevalent too, a function of having the only true chemical industry cluster in Florida. Solar panel installer ranks high too — the military has hired a contractor to build solar panel generation plants at area bases. Also high: Choreographers and motion picture projectionists. One single large music store might account for the disproportionate number of music instrument repairers.

Charlotte, Collier, Glades, Hendry and Lee

  • Metal and plastic pattern-makers
  • Building cleaning workers
  • Solar photovoltaic installers
  • Farm labor contractors
  • Tool grinders, filers and sharpeners

Florida’s one of the nation’s top states for employing metal and plastic pattern-makers — people who make and handle castings of metal or plastic. Many — 16.6 times the state average — are in southwest Florida. Janitors, solar panel installers, ag industry workers and historians also are over-represented. And bicycle repairers: The Naples metro has 9 times the state average for that trade, the highest multiple for it in Florida.

» The full, downloadable spreadsheet of the 2016 Location Quotient is available here.

"The 2016 Employment Location Quotient file shows the location quotient of employment across the selected Metropolitan Statistical Areas and Workforce Development Regions. The location quotient (LQ) is a measure of how concentrated the occupational employment is in a selected area compared with the state. A location quotient of one indicates the occupation has the same share of the employment in that area compared to the state. A location quotient of greater than one indicates the occupation has a greater share of the employment in that area compared to the state. A location quotient of less than one indicates the occupation has a smaller share of the employment in that area compared to the state. For example, in Workforce Development Area 13 - Brevard County, Aerospace Engineers have an LQ of 17.118 which indicates that there is a greater concentration of Aerospace Engineers in Brevard compared to the state ratio.A location quotient represents the degree of concentration of employment in a given occupation relative to the state as a whole. The example given would typically be stated: “Aerospace engineering is 17 times more concentrated in Brevard County compared to the state.” However, the statement “Aerospace engineering in Brevard County is 17 times the share of employment in the state, “ is also accurate." 

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