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What is the ‘location quotient’ for jobs in Madison area?

May 6, 2019 GMT

A couple of readers reached out for suggestions on careers for graduating high school seniors, so this week’s Econ Quiz is considering the location quotient for jobs in the Madison area.

The location quotient (LQ) is a statistic that identifies the concentration of a particular job or industry in a specified geographic location. An LQ of 1.0 for a particular job, e.g. computer programming, indicates that the region and nation are equally specialized in that type of job. An LQ higher than 1.00 indicates an area is somewhat specialized in that occupation. For example, San Francisco/San Jose’s LQ of 2.20 in computer programming indicates a greater concentration of that type of occupation as compared to the general U.S.


Rank the following occupations from highest to lowest in terms of their location quotient (LQ) in the Madison area.

A) Electrical and electronic repairers, powerhouse substation and relay

B) Epidemiologists

C) Actuaries

D) Health specialties teachers, post-secondary

E) Software developers

Answer: D, B, C, E, A.

At 5.03, post-secondary health specialties teachers have the highest LQ in the Madison area, with 2,720 working in this field in Madison, with a median wage of $63,290. About 90 people work in epidemiology (LQ of 4.54; median wage of $71,480); 240 work as actuaries (LQ 4.29; median wage $105,490); 7,650 work as software developers (LQ 3.13; median wage 86,080); and 190 work as electrical and electronic repairers for powerhouses and substations (LQ 3.12; median wage $79,840).

Sources: Bureau of Labor Statistics (2018). Occupational Employment Statistics: May 2018 National Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, United States.

— Kristin Runge, UW-Extension; kristin.runge@ces.uwex.edu; Twitter @RungeKristin