We studied the methods used by BLS Occupational Employment Statistics to understand job distributions across the states:
Jobs per thousand: For each job, we calculate the number of workers in that job for every thousand state workers from all jobs, allowing us to compare the density of job counts across states so that small and large states can be considered with a uniform metric.
Local-to-national ratio: The location quotient, or local-to-national ratio, is the quotient of the local jobs per thousand and the national jobs per thousand. A local-to-national ratio of 1 means a local area employs a given occupation at the same rate as national levels. Large ratios tell us that the local area is a much greater employer of this occupation than the national average.
For our career pages, we are using jobs per thousand to compare employment across states, both when our primary sources are BLS Occupational Employment Statistics and ACS microdata . Additionally, in order to compare salaries across states, Ididio divides the median salary for each job within a given state by the median salary for all workers within the state. The largest ratios correspond to states in which workers in the given career are paid best relative to the pay in their surrounding community. This is intended as a proxy for the average cost of living, with the caveat that states are likely to have wildly differing costs of living dependent on area. Where possible, we provide more detailed data for local areas in the tooltips that can be seen by hovering over individual states.