Most common jobs 150 years ago in Minnesota

Written by:
August 5, 2022
Minnesota Historical Society/Corbis via Getty Images

Most common jobs 150 years ago in Minnesota

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 Minnesota 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.

You may also like: Best counties to retire to in Minnesota

1 / 50
Underwood Archives // Getty Images

#1. Farmers and planters

- Minnesota employment: 54,623
- National employment: 2,977,711
--- #1 most common job in the U.S.
2 / 50
Bettmann // Getty Images

#2. Agricultural laborers

- Minnesota employment: 20,277
- National employment: 2,885,996
--- #2 most common job in the U.S.
3 / 50
Alexander Alland, Sr./CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images

#3. Laborers (not specified)

- Minnesota employment: 13,037
- National employment: 1,031,666
--- #3 most common job in the U.S.
4 / 50
English Heritage/Heritage Images // Getty Images

#4. Domestic servants

- Minnesota employment: 8,556
- National employment: 975,734
--- #4 most common job in the U.S.
5 / 50
Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images

#5. Carpenters and joiners

- Minnesota employment: 4,164
- National employment: 344,596
--- #5 most common job in the U.S.
6 / 50
SSPL // Getty Images

#6. Employees of railroad companies (not clerks)

- Minnesota employment: 2,500
- National employment: 154,027
--- #9 most common job in the U.S.
7 / 50
Universal History Archive/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

#7. Clerks in stores

- Minnesota employment: 1,806
- National employment: 222,504
--- #6 most common job in the U.S.
8 / 50
Everett Collection // Shutterstock

#8. Teachers (not specified)

- Minnesota employment: 1,754
- National employment: 126,822
--- #12 most common job in the U.S.
9 / 50
The Albertype Co. // Library of Congress

#9. Lumbermen and raftsmen

- Minnesota employment: 1,454
- National employment: 17,752
--- #61 most common job in the U.S.
10 / 50
Universal History Archive/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

#10. Blacksmiths

- Minnesota employment: 1,255
- National employment: 141,774
--- #11 most common job in the U.S.
11 / 50
Charles Phelps Cushing/ClassicStock // Getty Images

#11. Traders and dealers (not specified)

- Minnesota employment: 1,034
- National employment: 100,406
--- #15 most common job in the U.S.
12 / 50
Bain News Service // Library of Congress

#12. Draymen, hackmen, teamsters, &c

- Minnesota employment: 1,032
- National employment: 120,756
--- #13 most common job in the U.S.
13 / 50
Carl Mydans // Library of Congress

#13. Masons, brick and stone

- Minnesota employment: 925
- National employment: 89,710
--- #17 most common job in the U.S.
14 / 50
Frances Benjamin Johnston // Library of Congress

#14. Boot and shoe makers

- Minnesota employment: 846
- National employment: 171,127
--- #7 most common job in the U.S.
15 / 50
Lewis W. Hine // Library of Congress

#15. Tailors, tailoresses, and seamstresses

- Minnesota employment: 731
- National employment: 161,820
--- #8 most common job in the U.S.
16 / 50
John C.H. Grabill // Library of Congress

#16. Saw-mill operatives

- Minnesota employment: 684
- National employment: 47,298
--- #25 most common job in the U.S.
17 / 50
Minnesota Historical Society/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images

#17. Milliners, dress and mantua makers

- Minnesota employment: 620
- National employment: 92,084
--- #16 most common job in the U.S.
18 / 50
Gari Melchers // Wikimedia Commons

#18. Clergymen

- Minnesota employment: 620
- National employment: 43,874
--- #28 most common job in the U.S.
19 / 50
Wisconsin Historical Society // Getty Images

#19. Millers

- Minnesota employment: 599
- National employment: 41,582
--- #34 most common job in the U.S.
20 / 50
Library of Congress // Wikimedia Commons

#20. Painters and varnishers

- Minnesota employment: 578
- National employment: 85,123
--- #18 most common job in the U.S.
21 / 50
Underwood Archives // Getty Images

#21. Traders and dealers in groceries

- Minnesota employment: 551
- National employment: 74,410
--- #19 most common job in the U.S.
22 / 50
Seneca Ray Stoddard/Library of Congress/Corbis/VCG via Getty Images

#22. Restaurant-keepers

- Minnesota employment: 548
- National employment: 35,185
--- #38 most common job in the U.S.
23 / 50
Everett Collection // Shutterstock

#23. Mill and factory operatives (not specified)

- Minnesota employment: 526
- National employment: 41,619
--- #33 most common job in the U.S.
24 / 50
Corbis via Getty Images

#24. Lawyers

- Minnesota employment: 449
- National employment: 40,736
--- #35 most common job in the U.S.
25 / 50
John C.H. Grabill // Library of Congress

#25. Hotel-keepers

- Minnesota employment: 422
- National employment: 26,394
--- #49 most common job in the U.S.
26 / 50
Underwood Archives // Getty Images

#26. Traders and dealers in dry-goods

- Minnesota employment: 418
- National employment: 39,790
--- #37 most common job in the U.S.
27 / 50
Matthias Weaver // Library of Congress

#27. Carriage and wagon makers

- Minnesota employment: 410
- National employment: 42,464
--- #31 most common job in the U.S.
28 / 50
Universal History Archive/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

#28. Physicians and surgeons

- Minnesota employment: 402
- National employment: 62,383
--- #20 most common job in the U.S.
29 / 50
Smith Collection/Gado // Getty Images

#29. Manufacturers

- Minnesota employment: 371
- National employment: 42,877
--- #29 most common job in the U.S.
30 / 50
Maurice Ambler // Getty Images

#30. Coopers

- Minnesota employment: 368
- National employment: 41,789
--- #32 most common job in the U.S.
31 / 50
Minnesota Historical Society/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images

#31. Butchers

- Minnesota employment: 352
- National employment: 44,354
--- #27 most common job in the U.S.
32 / 50
Daily Herald Archive/National Science & Media Museum/SSPL via Getty Images

#32. Harness and saddle makers

- Minnesota employment: 330
- National employment: 32,817
--- #41 most common job in the U.S.
33 / 50
Historical Picture Archive/Corbis via Getty Images

#33. Cabinetmakers

- Minnesota employment: 318
- National employment: 42,835
--- #30 most common job in the U.S.
34 / 50
Universal History Archive/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

#34. Engineers and firemen

- Minnesota employment: 315
- National employment: 34,233
--- #40 most common job in the U.S.
35 / 50
Heritage Art/Heritage Images via Getty Images

#35. Printers

- Minnesota employment: 298
- National employment: 39,860
--- #36 most common job in the U.S.
36 / 50
John C.H. Grabill // Library of Congress

#36. Officials of Government

- Minnesota employment: 286
- National employment: 44,743
--- #26 most common job in the U.S.
37 / 50
Chicago History Museum // Getty Images

#37. Boarding and lodging house keepers

- Minnesota employment: 271
- National employment: 12,785
--- #77 most common job in the U.S.
38 / 50
Bettmann // Getty Images

#38. Tinners

- Minnesota employment: 262
- National employment: 30,524
--- #44 most common job in the U.S.
39 / 50
London Metropolitan Archives/Heritage Images // Getty Images

#39. Machinists

- Minnesota employment: 255
- National employment: 54,755
--- #24 most common job in the U.S.
40 / 50
ullstein bild via Getty Images

#40. Plasterers

- Minnesota employment: 235
- National employment: 23,577
--- #53 most common job in the U.S.
41 / 50
Kirn Vintage Stock//Corbis via Getty Images

#41. Brick and tile makers

- Minnesota employment: 229
- National employment: 26,070
--- #50 most common job in the U.S.
42 / 50
Andreas Larsen Dahl/Wisconsin Historical Society // Getty Images

#42. Wheelwrights

- Minnesota employment: 226
- National employment: 20,942
--- #58 most common job in the U.S.
43 / 50
Minnesota Historical Society/Corbis via Getty Images

#43. Brewers and maltsters

- Minnesota employment: 218
- National employment: 11,246
--- #84 most common job in the U.S.
44 / 50
Universal History Archive/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

#44. Book-keepers and accountants in stores

- Minnesota employment: 214
- National employment: 31,177
--- #43 most common job in the U.S.
45 / 50
Hulton Archive // Getty Images

#45. Soldiers (United States Army)

- Minnesota employment: 211
- National employment: 22,081
--- #56 most common job in the U.S.
46 / 50
Universal History Archive/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

#46. Employees of trading and transportation co's

- Minnesota employment: 202
- National employment: 4,152
--- #140 most common job in the U.S.
47 / 50
Underwood Archives // Getty Images

#47. Traders and dealers in drugs and medicines

- Minnesota employment: 200
- National employment: 17,369
--- #63 most common job in the U.S.
48 / 50
Everett Collection // Shutterstock

#48. Gardeners and nurserymen

- Minnesota employment: 199
- National employment: 31,435
--- #42 most common job in the U.S.
49 / 50
Levin C. Handy // Library of Congerss

#49. Marble and stone cutters

- Minnesota employment: 194
- National employment: 25,831
--- #51 most common job in the U.S.
50 / 50
Minnesota Historical Society/Corbis via Getty Images

#50. Traders and dealers in produce

- Minnesota employment: 187
- National employment: 11,809
--- #81 most common job in the U.S.

Trending Now