Company establishments and employment by sector and state, USA 2013

In this post we will examine which states were strongest in which industries during the year 2013 in USA. This question could be interesting to job seekers, company managers and people looking to increase their general understanding about the performance of the US economy in various different sectors. If you have never lived in USA, you may also not know anything about its states or what makes them special. In this case you may find the following informative as well.

The dataset we will use is publicly available, but to make it easier to follow the article, you can take a look at it. As you can see, it is an Excel file containing more than million rows, where the values are spread across 25 columns. It seems that the main purpose was to track company establishments and employment change during 2013-2014. Here we will consider only the data for the year 2013 and avoid dealing with the net changes available for the next year.

It is a good idea to ask ourselves initially which columns we will need for our analysis and discard the ones that won't contribute to our results. This reduces the dimensionality of the original data and makes it easier to analyze computationally. After we are left only with the few columns we need, we may further notice that reading Excel files is slightly slower than reading CSV files on our machine. What we could do then is export our data to CSV to further speed up the process of working with it.

After we write our code, we plot the resulting diagrams to see whether we can learn something new from them. We can do this by sector.

Agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting

Company establishments and employment in agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting

We can see that a disproportional amount of people in this sector were employed in California, Washington, Oregon, Florida, Georgia and Texas. Most states had less than 5000 people employed, whereas California was having a 5-6 times higher employment rate by having around four times more company establishments. This signifies its increased efficiency/productivity in this sector.

Mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction

Company establishments and employment in mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction

There is not a big surprise here. Texas seemed to be the absolute leader in mining with a very big advantage over all other US states. Even Louisiana and Oklahoma were either employing almost five times less people or having almost four times less company establishments. Interestingly, Louisiana seems to have almost the same employment level in this industry like Oklahoma, but is achieving this at having a much smaller number of companies. This means that the companies operating may tend to be bigger.


Company establishments and employment in the utilities sector

The overall picture in this sector seems quite different than the ones we observed before. While Texas seems to have performed best, New York was having only around 20% less employees in this sector, but by having three times fewer company establishments. New York's output was seemingly marked by a higher efficiency.


Company establishments and employment in the construction industry

If you are working in the construction industry, you are probably interested where its fundamentals are particularly strong. California, Texas, New York and Florida seemed to be quite strong in construction in 2013, but this picture may have changed in the next years, depending on the market requirements. Texas seems to have a very high employment rate, while having much less companies than California.


Company establishments and employment in the manufacturing industry

There is not much to say here except that California is once again having an advantage in both the number of people employed and in the number of established companies.

Wholesale trade

Company establishments and employment in the wholesale trade sector

A similar picture we observe in the wholesale trade sector. The interesting thing here is how almost perfectly in line the data points of many states are located.

Retail trade

Company establishments and employment in the retail trade sector

There is not much new to be seen here, except that Florida was slightly more efficient than New York when it came to retail trade.

Transportation and warehousing

Company establishments and employment in the transportation and housing industry

California and Texas seem strongest here, followed by New York, Illinois and Florida.


Company establishments and employment in the information sector

In the information sector, California seems to have been the largest employer, followed by New York, Texas and Florida.

Finance and insurance

Company establishments and employment in the finance and insurance sector

The finance and insurance sector seems to be more decentralized, with many states performing above average. This means that, for instance, startups could find good support in many of these states, potentially driving the speed of innovation as well.

Real estate and rental and leasing

Company establishments and employment in the real estate and leasing sector

California is once again doing very well in this sector, which means that many people want to buy or rent a new home there. New York is second in the number of companies operating in this sector, although having slightly less people employed than Texas.

Professional, scientific, and technical services

Company establishments and employment in the professional, scientific, and technical services sector

Professional, scientific, and technical services is probably another sector of high interest for many people. California takes the lead again, having more than 1.5 times more employees than Texas or New York. Florida slightly deviates from the ordinary since it has quite a lot of companies, but relatively few employed people. Virginia and partially even Illinois, for instance, employ almost as many people as Florida, having to operate much less companies.

Management of companies and enterprises

Company establishments and employment in the management sector

People who seek to become managers seem to find the best opportunities in Texas and California. Most other states have much less operating companies and so their employment levels in this sector are lower. Notable mentions deserve Illinois, New York, Pennsylvania and Florida.

Administrative and support and waste management and remediation services

Company establishments and employment in the administrative, support, waste management, remediation services sector

Florida was doing quite well here in 2013, signaling the existence of a great administrative and support capacity. Previously I've read somewhere that this state has a lot of elderly people, which may be in some way connected with the need for care. California had the most companies, but a slightly lower employment level than Florida. Interestingly, New York was marked by having lots of established administrative organs, where fewer people worked there. This may have been due to higher hiring costs or the perceived unattractiveness of this sector relative to other ones.

Educational services

Company establishments and employment in the education services sector

Definitely an interesting chart: with all its educational and scientific institutions, California had fewer people employed in this sector than New York. Education seems to have found a really strong basis in the latter city. Pennsylvia is also very interesting to observe. If you have once heard about the work of Dr. Martin Seligman on authentic happiness, you already knew about the strong tradition of the university there. Back in time, Pennsylvania was employing more people in this sector than Massachusetts—the home of both Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Illinois, Texas and Florida are other states with relatively strong education system.

Health care and social assistance

Company establishments and employment in the education services sector

If we were to draw a line, passing as close as possible to most data points, minimizing the mean squared error, we would probably see that California remains on the right of this line. This could mean that due to the fact that there were many established organisations focused on health care in 2013, this could have made the state less efficient and potentially more bureaucratic than other states, despite showing the highest level of employment and company establishments. Florida is another state with a similar, albeit less pronounced offset.

Arts, entertainment, and recreation

Company establishments and employment in the arts, entertainment, and recreation sector

While California and New York seem to have been strongest in terms of company establishments (and likely job opportunities), Florida tries to employ more people with fewer established organizations. This state has managed to achieve a small advantage in terms of efficiency relative to the rest, which is remarkable.

Accommodation and food services

Company establishments and employment in the accomodation and food services sector

California has the largest numbers of companies and employed people in this sector once again. Texas and New York are almost on the same vertical, but Texas is employing around 50% more people in the accomodation and food services sector. Similarly to the previous chart, Florida shows again some relative advantages compared to New York.

Other services (except public administration)

Company establishments and employment in the other services (except public administration) sector

It seems that California is not only first, but also having some slight relative competitive advantage. While Texas is second, it enjoys even better scalability in this sector. New York and Florida are third and fourth respectively. In the bottom left of the chart we can see that one state is quite efficient in this sector, because it manages to employ around 75000 people with less than 5000 companies. It is neither clear which state this is, nor what the reasons for this deviation are.

Industries, not classified

Company establishments and employment in the industries not classified sector

This chart is somewhat controversial, since it is quite different than the ones we have seen so far. It is not about a concrete category, so it may contain some measurement error due to uncertainty. Or inconsistent measurement criteria might have been used. For this reason its results are hard to interpret. If we look at the y-scale, we'll see that it reaches only up to 800, which relative to most other industries means that more data needs to be collected or the results may remain somewhat skewed.

Final words

Hopefully this has given you a good overview of the position of some states in relation to the strengths and weaknesses of their economic sectors. Forming a complete picture with all details requires extensive amounts of data, computational power and lots of patience when it comes to the interpretation of the results. At least one of these may not always be available.