For most of the nation’s 387 Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs), the most common occupation is retail salesperson.
In the Upstate, however, the most common occupation involves making things, not selling things.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, team assembler, a category of assembly-line worker, is the leading occupation in both the Greenville/Anderson MSA and the Spartanburg MSA.
The two Upstate MSAs are among just 17 MSAs in which team assembler is the leading occupation.
According to the BLS, the Greenville/Anderson MSA had the eighth-highest number of team assemblers as of May 2016, with nearly 17,000. Meanwhile, the Spartanburg MSA had the sixth-highest concentration of team assemblers, 57 per 1,000 jobs.
The importance of manufacturing to the Upstate is also evident in data from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis.
According to the BEA, manufacturing accounted for 20 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the Greenville/Anderson MSA in 2015, as measured by dollar value. By comparison, manufacturing was responsible for just 11.5 percent of GDP in all MSAs combined.
In the Spartanburg MSA, manufacturing made up an even higher percentage of GDP, 32 percent.