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Justin Fox

Where Stuff Gets Made in the U.S. of A.

From Texas (chemicals) to Illinois (steel), Michigan (cars) to Napa (your barbecue rose), America's manufacturing centers reach far and wide.
Chemical manufacturing.

Chemical manufacturing.

Photographer: Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images

What are the U.S. counties with the most people working in transportation-equipment manufacturing? I wondered this while working on a column about Detroit. Thanks to the magic of the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages data viewer, I soon had an answer:

I've sorted here by employment in transportation equipment instead of a narrower category such as motor vehicle manufacturing because of a quirk of how the BLS releases county employment data: If there are so few employers in an industry in a county that one could figure out how many people work at one of them and how much money they make, the agency suppresses the data. There are lots of one-auto-plant counties. By going with the broader category, I'm less likely to miss out on them.