(STACKER) – 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 Kentucky 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.

#1. Farmers and planters

– Kentucky employment: 131,598
– National employment: 2,977,711
— #1 most common job in the U.S.

#2. Agricultural laborers

– Kentucky employment: 127,911
– National employment: 2,885,996
— #2 most common job in the U.S.

#3. Domestic servants

– Kentucky employment: 41,368
– National employment: 975,734
— #4 most common job in the U.S.

#4. Laborers (not specified)

– Kentucky employment: 24,981
– National employment: 1,031,666
— #3 most common job in the U.S.

#5. Carpenters and joiners

– Kentucky employment: 5,287
– National employment: 344,596
— #5 most common job in the U.S.

#6. Clerks in stores

– Kentucky employment: 4,623
– National employment: 222,504
— #6 most common job in the U.S.

#7. Blacksmiths

– Kentucky employment: 4,138
– National employment: 141,774
— #11 most common job in the U.S.

#8. Tailors, tailoresses, and seamstresses

– Kentucky employment: 3,953
– National employment: 161,820
— #8 most common job in the U.S.

#9. Employees of railroad companies (not clerks)

– Kentucky employment: 3,086
– National employment: 154,027
— #9 most common job in the U.S.

#10. Teachers (not specified)

– Kentucky employment: 2,961
– National employment: 126,822
— #12 most common job in the U.S.

#11. Draymen, hackmen, teamsters, &c

– Kentucky employment: 2,821
– National employment: 120,756
— #13 most common job in the U.S.

#12. Physicians and surgeons

– Kentucky employment: 2,414
– National employment: 62,383
— #20 most common job in the U.S.

#13. Traders and dealers (not specified)

– Kentucky employment: 2,335
– National employment: 100,406
— #15 most common job in the U.S.

#14. Boot and shoe makers

– Kentucky employment: 2,268
– National employment: 171,127
— #7 most common job in the U.S.

#15. Traders and dealers in groceries

– Kentucky employment: 2,120
– National employment: 74,410
— #19 most common job in the U.S.

#16. Launderers and laundresses

– Kentucky employment: 2,078
– National employment: 60,906
— #21 most common job in the U.S.

#17. Miners

– Kentucky employment: 1,743
– National employment: 152,107
— #10 most common job in the U.S.

#18. Painters and varnishers

– Kentucky employment: 1,714
– National employment: 85,123
— #18 most common job in the U.S.

#19. Lawyers

– Kentucky employment: 1,552
– National employment: 40,736
— #35 most common job in the U.S.

#20. Carriage and wagon makers

– Kentucky employment: 1,465
– National employment: 42,464
— #31 most common job in the U.S.

#21. Traders and dealers in dry-goods

– Kentucky employment: 1,392
– National employment: 39,790
— #37 most common job in the U.S.

#22. Officials of Government

– Kentucky employment: 1,371
– National employment: 44,743
— #26 most common job in the U.S.

#23. Milliners, dress and mantua makers

– Kentucky employment: 1,113
– National employment: 92,084
— #16 most common job in the U.S.

#24. Clergymen

– Kentucky employment: 1,080
– National employment: 43,874
— #28 most common job in the U.S.

#25. Iron-foundry operatives

– Kentucky employment: 1,037
– National employment: 34,245
— #39 most common job in the U.S.

#26. Harness and saddle makers

– Kentucky employment: 1,034
– National employment: 32,817
— #41 most common job in the U.S.

#27. Cabinetmakers

– Kentucky employment: 1,023
– National employment: 42,835
— #30 most common job in the U.S.

#28. Coopers

– Kentucky employment: 1,021
– National employment: 41,789
— #32 most common job in the U.S.

#29. Tobacco-factory operatives

– Kentucky employment: 1,000
– National employment: 11,985
— #80 most common job in the U.S.

#30. Masons, brick and stone

– Kentucky employment: 976
– National employment: 89,710
— #17 most common job in the U.S.

#31. Machinists

– Kentucky employment: 893
– National employment: 54,755
— #24 most common job in the U.S.

#32. Mill and factory operatives (not specified)

– Kentucky employment: 861
– National employment: 41,619
— #33 most common job in the U.S.

#33. Millers

– Kentucky employment: 787
– National employment: 41,582
— #34 most common job in the U.S.

#34. Gardeners and nurserymen

– Kentucky employment: 777
– National employment: 31,435
— #42 most common job in the U.S.

#35. Saw-mill operatives

– Kentucky employment: 764
– National employment: 47,298
— #25 most common job in the U.S.

#36. Plasterers

– Kentucky employment: 748
– National employment: 23,577
— #53 most common job in the U.S.

#37. Engineers and firemen

– Kentucky employment: 730
– National employment: 34,233
— #40 most common job in the U.S.

#38. Hotel-keepers

– Kentucky employment: 688
– National employment: 26,394
— #49 most common job in the U.S.

#39. Traders and dealers in cigars and tobacco

– Kentucky employment: 656
– National employment: 8,234
— #101 most common job in the U.S.

#40. Hostlers

– Kentucky employment: 645
– National employment: 17,586
— #62 most common job in the U.S.

#41. Butchers

– Kentucky employment: 636
– National employment: 44,354
— #27 most common job in the U.S.

#42. Tinners

– Kentucky employment: 605
– National employment: 30,524
— #44 most common job in the U.S.

#43. Porters in stores and warehouses

– Kentucky employment: 587
– National employment: 16,631
— #67 most common job in the U.S.

#44. Farm and plantation overseers

– Kentucky employment: 580
– National employment: 3,609
— #155 most common job in the U.S.

#45. Restaurant-keepers

– Kentucky employment: 574
– National employment: 35,185
— #38 most common job in the U.S.

#46. Printers

– Kentucky employment: 573
– National employment: 39,860
— #36 most common job in the U.S.

#47. Barkeepers

– Kentucky employment: 553
– National employment: 14,362
— #74 most common job in the U.S.

#48. Traders and dealers in drugs and medicines

– Kentucky employment: 523
– National employment: 17,369
— #63 most common job in the U.S.

#49. Brick and tile makers

– Kentucky employment: 521
– National employment: 26,070
— #50 most common job in the U.S.

#50. Book-keepers and accountants in stores

– Kentucky employment: 492
– National employment: 31,177
— #43 most common job in the U.S.