Most common jobs 150 years ago in Florida

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August 5, 2022
Underwood Archives // Getty Images

Most common jobs 150 years ago in Florida

With the COVID-19 pandemic continuing to impact the global economy, the current job market is a hot topic in the news cycle. But while the pandemic itself is, historically, something of an economic aberration, the U.S. economy that we know today has a long and storied history of expansions, recessions, and evolution.

At the time of the American Revolution, most of the job market in the U.S. revolved around agriculture or food acquisition in some way. Many individuals and communities farmed for subsistence, not even growing enough to have an excess to sell for profits. As the fledgling country grew, so did its economy, springing forth during the Industrial Revolution of the late 1700s and early 1800s, and inexorably shifting the nation’s economic focus from agrarian efforts to those of manufacturing, trade, and other forms of business. Inventions like the steam engine and cotton gin accelerated production, feeding a booming job market that was met with immigrants eager to find work.

By the mid- to late-1800s, the U.S. economy and job market was characterized by successive periods of rapid growth followed by panics or depressions. This economic disquiet was caused by stock speculation and oscillating levels of trust in the federal government’s ability to regulate cash flow and support banks. In turn, the uncertain economy produced a volatile job market.

In an effort to capture a snapshot of the U.S. job market’s history, Stacker compiled a list of the most common jobs in Florida from 150 years ago using data from the U.S. Census Bureau. By transcribing the previously untranscribed Table XXVII from the 1870 decennial census, a state-level glimpse into the historic job market can be seen. Nationally, farmers and planters were the most common occupation 150 years ago, just one of the many agricultural jobs that made up more than 47% of all employed persons over ten years old.

Continue reading to find out more about the historical job market in your home state or explore the data on your own on our site, GitHub, or data.world.

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#1. Agricultural laborers

- Florida employment: 31,033
- National employment: 2,885,996
--- #2 most common job in the U.S.
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Underwood Archives // Getty Images

#2. Farmers and planters

- Florida employment: 11,165
- National employment: 2,977,711
--- #1 most common job in the U.S.
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Alexander Alland, Sr./CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images

#3. Laborers (not specified)

- Florida employment: 4,065
- National employment: 1,031,666
--- #3 most common job in the U.S.
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English Heritage/Heritage Images // Getty Images

#4. Domestic servants

- Florida employment: 4,003
- National employment: 975,734
--- #4 most common job in the U.S.
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#5. Carpenters and joiners

- Florida employment: 1,049
- National employment: 344,596
--- #5 most common job in the U.S.
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#6. Launderers and laundresses

- Florida employment: 655
- National employment: 60,906
--- #21 most common job in the U.S.
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#7. Sailors

- Florida employment: 611
- National employment: 56,663
--- #23 most common job in the U.S.
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#8. Clerks in stores

- Florida employment: 455
- National employment: 222,504
--- #6 most common job in the U.S.
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#9. Soldiers (United States Army)

- Florida employment: 398
- National employment: 22,081
--- #56 most common job in the U.S.
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Everett Collection // Shutterstock

#10. Mill and factory operatives (not specified)

- Florida employment: 369
- National employment: 41,619
--- #33 most common job in the U.S.
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Charles Phelps Cushing/ClassicStock // Getty Images

#11. Traders and dealers (not specified)

- Florida employment: 316
- National employment: 100,406
--- #15 most common job in the U.S.
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#12. Blacksmiths

- Florida employment: 313
- National employment: 141,774
--- #11 most common job in the U.S.
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John C.H. Grabill // Library of Congress

#13. Officials of Government

- Florida employment: 312
- National employment: 44,743
--- #26 most common job in the U.S.
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Bain News Service // Library of Congress

#14. Cigar-makers

- Florida employment: 284
- National employment: 28,286
--- #46 most common job in the U.S.
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#15. Employees of railroad companies (not clerks)

- Florida employment: 278
- National employment: 154,027
--- #9 most common job in the U.S.
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Lewis W. Hine // Library of Congress

#16. Tailors, tailoresses, and seamstresses

- Florida employment: 275
- National employment: 161,820
--- #8 most common job in the U.S.
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Underwood Archives // Getty Images

#17. Traders and dealers in groceries

- Florida employment: 275
- National employment: 74,410
--- #19 most common job in the U.S.
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Everett Collection // Shutterstock

#18. Teachers (not specified)

- Florida employment: 250
- National employment: 126,822
--- #12 most common job in the U.S.
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#19. Physicians and surgeons

- Florida employment: 248
- National employment: 62,383
--- #20 most common job in the U.S.
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The Albertype Co. // Library of Congress

#20. Lumbermen and raftsmen

- Florida employment: 229
- National employment: 17,752
--- #61 most common job in the U.S.
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Bain News Service // Library of Congress

#21. Draymen, hackmen, teamsters, &c

- Florida employment: 204
- National employment: 120,756
--- #13 most common job in the U.S.
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Gari Melchers // Wikimedia Commons

#22. Clergymen

- Florida employment: 197
- National employment: 43,874
--- #28 most common job in the U.S.
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#23. Woodchoppers

- Florida employment: 176
- National employment: 8,338
--- #99 most common job in the U.S.
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Lewis W. Hine/Buyenlarge // Getty Images

#24. Fishermen and oystermen

- Florida employment: 161
- National employment: 27,106
--- #48 most common job in the U.S.
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#25. Lawyers

- Florida employment: 149
- National employment: 40,736
--- #35 most common job in the U.S.
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Andreas Larsen Dahl/Wisconsin Historical Society // Getty Images

#26. Wheelwrights

- Florida employment: 133
- National employment: 20,942
--- #58 most common job in the U.S.
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Underwood Archives // Getty Images

#27. Traders and dealers in dry-goods

- Florida employment: 132
- National employment: 39,790
--- #37 most common job in the U.S.
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Carl Mydans // Library of Congress

#28. Masons, brick and stone

- Florida employment: 103
- National employment: 89,710
--- #17 most common job in the U.S.
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London Metropolitan Archives/Heritage Images // Getty Images

#29. Machinists

- Florida employment: 98
- National employment: 54,755
--- #24 most common job in the U.S.
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Wisconsin Historical Society // Getty Images

#30. Millers

- Florida employment: 92
- National employment: 41,582
--- #34 most common job in the U.S.
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#31. Engineers and firemen

- Florida employment: 79
- National employment: 34,233
--- #40 most common job in the U.S.
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#32. Nurses

- Florida employment: 74
- National employment: 10,976
--- #86 most common job in the U.S.
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#33. Printers

- Florida employment: 73
- National employment: 39,860
--- #36 most common job in the U.S.
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Detroit Publishing Company // Library of Congress

#34. Pilots

- Florida employment: 72
- National employment: 3,649
--- #154 most common job in the U.S.
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#35. Boatmen and watermen

- Florida employment: 72
- National employment: 21,332
--- #57 most common job in the U.S.
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Library of Congress // Wikimedia Commons

#36. Painters and varnishers

- Florida employment: 69
- National employment: 85,123
--- #18 most common job in the U.S.
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Frances Benjamin Johnston // Library of Congress

#37. Boot and shoe makers

- Florida employment: 69
- National employment: 171,127
--- #7 most common job in the U.S.
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Detroit Publishing Company // Library of Congress

#38. Steamboat men and women

- Florida employment: 69
- National employment: 7,975
--- #104 most common job in the U.S.
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Detroit Publishing Company // Library of Congress

#39. Marines (United States)

- Florida employment: 66
- National employment: 477
--- #270 most common job in the U.S.
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Minnesota Historical Society/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images

#40. Butchers

- Florida employment: 63
- National employment: 44,354
--- #27 most common job in the U.S.
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Universal History Archive/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

#41. Laborers

- Florida employment: 63
- National employment: 14,882
--- #72 most common job in the U.S.
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Universal History Archive/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

#42. Book-keepers and accountants in stores

- Florida employment: 60
- National employment: 31,177
--- #43 most common job in the U.S.
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The Print Collector/Print Collector // Getty Images

#43. Turpentine Iaborers

- Florida employment: 60
- National employment: 2,117
--- #187 most common job in the U.S.
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Wisconsin Historical Society // Getty Images

#44. Stock-raisers

- Florida employment: 59
- National employment: 6,588
--- #120 most common job in the U.S.
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Everett Collection // Shutterstock

#45. Gardeners and nurserymen

- Florida employment: 59
- National employment: 31,435
--- #42 most common job in the U.S.
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Minnesota Historical Society/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images

#46. Bakers

- Florida employment: 56
- National employment: 27,680
--- #47 most common job in the U.S.
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Detroit Publishing Company // Library of Congress

#47. Employees of Government

- Florida employment: 54
- National employment: 14,407
--- #73 most common job in the U.S.
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Maurice Ambler // Getty Images

#48. Coopers

- Florida employment: 51
- National employment: 41,789
--- #32 most common job in the U.S.
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John C.H. Grabill // Library of Congress

#49. Hotel-keepers

- Florida employment: 46
- National employment: 26,394
--- #49 most common job in the U.S.
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Underwood Archives // Getty Images

#50. Farm and plantation overseers

- Florida employment: 46
- National employment: 3,609
--- #155 most common job in the U.S.

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