Largest Industry in Each State

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Over the first half of this year, the U.S. economy generated slightly more than $17.9 trillion in goods and services, up $286 billion from the previous six months. The nation’s economy is driven by a wide array of industries, and every state in the country contributes billions of dollars to the national GDP.

Real estate is by far the largest industry in the country and the largest contributor to the economy in most states. But since housing is a universal need irrespective of geography, it fails to illuminate regional economic differences. Apart from real estate, economic value is created in a variety of other ways state by state. In order to capture the unique economic features of each state, we did not consider real estate in our examination of industries by state. 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the largest industry in each state by GDP contribution.

Using the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS), we examined every industry in each state by its contribution to total state GDP in order to determine the largest industry. While in some states the largest industry was predictable, it was somewhat surprising in others.

According to Martin Kohli, chief regional economist at the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), “how incomes get generated depends where you are geographically.” For example, in resource-rich Texas, oil and gas extraction contributes $123.9 billion to GDP, more than any other industry in any state. Similarly, Hawaii, a state known for its natural beauty, attracts millions of tourists each year. In 2013, accommodation was the largest industry in the state, contributing $3.8 billion to the state’s GDP.

Geography can also be important to a state’s economy for less obvious reasons. In some cases, states with similar dominant industries tend to cluster. For example, the three states where computer and electronics manufacturing is the largest industry — California, Idaho, and Oregon — are geographically contiguous. Though in these cases natural resources are not a key factor, geography clearly plays a role. “It could be that there are special skills that people need, and that those states have particularly high abundances of them,” Kohli suggested.

Many states, regardless of geographic distance and other differences, share the same largest industry. In 17 states, for example, the largest industry was either the ambulatory health care services industry, or the hospitals and nursing and residential care facilities industry. Both of these sub sectors fall under the health services sector as defined by NAICS.

In all but three of the 17 states with dominant health related industries, the share of the population 65 and older exceeded the national percentage of 14.4%. Kohli explained that it makes sense for industries categorized under health services to be larger in states with an older population as senior citizens tend to require more medical care and related services.

In contrast to the states where the largest industry is perhaps expected, the largest industry in other states is far less intuitive. In Colorado, for instance, broadcasting and telecommunications make up more than 5% of the state’s total GDP, a larger share than any other industry.

To identify the largest industry in each state, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed each state’s industries and their respective GDP contributions from the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA). With only a few exceptions, the largest industry in each state is real estate. In order to identify regional industrial differences, we excluded the real estate industry in our examination. While industry classifications used by the BEA do not align perfectly with those used by the BLS, included are various industry and occupational data and descriptions from the BLS. Employment figures are for private employees only, and came from the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW).

These are the largest industries in each state.

1. Alabama
> Largest industry:
Ambulatory health care services
> Industry GDP: $7.4 billion
> Industry GDP as pct. of total: 4.1%
> Industry private workforce: 86,733

A diverse range of economic activity takes place in the ambulatory health care services subsector, the largest industry in Alabama. The industry, which includes diagnostic laboratories, dentist offices, outpatient care centers, and other health-related outpatient services, contributed $7.4 billion to the state’s total 2013 GDP of $180.1 billion.

2. Alaska
> Largest industry:
Oil and gas extraction
> Industry GDP: $8.7 billion
> Industry GDP as pct. of total: 17.5%
> Industry private workforce: 4,080

In Alaska, natural resource extraction is big business. Oil and gas extraction accounts for 17.5% of the state’s GDP. Alaska is the second largest producer of natural gas in the country and nearly 1 million barrels of petroleum are shipped daily through a pipeline system from the state’s North Slope to the Valdez shipping port on the state’s southern coast.

3. Arizona
> Largest industry:
Ambulatory health care services
> Industry GDP: $11.8 billion
> Industry GDP as pct. of total: 4.6%
> Industry private workforce: 142,324

As in seven other states, the largest industry in Arizona is the ambulatory health care subsector. Of the 2.2 million private employees in the state, 142,324, or 6.6%, work in the industry. Ambulatory care covers most outpatient services such as preventive care and routine procedures. According to the BLS, activity in the industry is driven primarily by the health practitioners themselves, as ambulatory care typically does not depend heavily on facilities or equipment.

4. Arkansas
> Largest industry:
Broadcasting and telecommunications
> Industry GDP: $6.9 billion
> Industry GDP as pct. of total: 6.3%
> Industry private workforce: 7,579

Contributing nearly $7 billion to the state’s total GDP, broadcasting is the largest industry in Arkansas. Broadcasting studios are venues for creating, recording and delivering content through various media such as radio and television. Revenue is primarily generated through programming rights and air time sales to advertisers. Though the broadcasting industry employs less than 1% of Arkansas’ total private workforce, it accounts for more than 6% of the state’s total GDP.

5. California
> Largest industry:
Computer and electronic products manufacturing
> Industry GDP: $74.7 billion
> Industry GDP as pct. of total: 3.6%
> Industry private workforce: 261,416

With a total GDP in excess of $2 trillion, California’s economy is the largest in the country. Excluding the real estate industry, computer and electronic products manufacturing contributes more to the state’s economy than any other industry. Server and processor manufacturer Intel employs about 12,500 people in California with a major site in Silicon Valley and another outside Sacramento.

6. Colorado
> Largest industry:
Broadcasting and telecommunications
> Industry GDP: $13.8 billion
> Industry GDP as pct. of total: 5.2%
> Industry private workforce: 33,945

Broadcasting is the largest private industry in Colorado, contributing nearly $14 billion to the state’s 2013 total GDP of $267 billion. Though broadcasting makes up more than 5% of Colorado’s economy, it employs less than 2% of the state’s non-government workforce. DISH Network, which is headquartered about half an hour outside of Denver, reported revenue in excess of $14.6 billion in its fiscal 2014.

7. Connecticut
> Largest industry:
Insurance carriers and related activities
> Industry GDP: $17.3 billion
> Industry GDP as pct. of total: 7.5%
> Industry private workforce: 58,184

The insurance industry is the largest in six states. In Connecticut, insurance companies and related activities contribute roughly $17.3 billion, or 7.5% of the state’s GDP, the largest share of the six states. The industry also employ 58,184 private employees, or 4.1% of the state’s private workforce, also the largest such share among the six states. One of the largest insurance carriers in the state, Aetna, had revenue of $55.1 billion in 2014. The health insurance company is based in Connecticut’s capital city, Hartford, which is nicknamed “the insurance capital of the world.”

8. Delaware
> Largest industry:
Federal Reserve banks, credit intermediation, and related services
> Industry GDP: $7.9 billion
> Industry GDP as pct. of total: 14.1%
> Industry private workforce: 25,977

Delaware’s financial services sector contributes the most to the state’s GDP. What’s more, workers within the industry are also among the highest-paid employees — not only in the state, but also in the country. The average annual wage of a financial manager in the state, for example, is $156,640, versus the comparable nationwide salary of $130,230.

9. Florida
> Largest industry:
Ambulatory health care services
> Industry GDP: $35.5 billion
> Industry GDP as pct. of total: 4.7%
> Industry private workforce: 421,019

Only three states have a larger GDP than Florida. In 2013, the ambulatory health care services industry contributed more than $35.5 billion to the state’s $749.3 billion total GDP. The industry, which includes diagnostic laboratories, dentist offices, outpatient care centers, and other outpatient services, is the largest in the state. Nearly 19% of Florida’s population is 65 and older, the highest proportion in the nation. This could partially explain the ambulatory health care services industry’s large size, as older individuals tend to require more medical attention.

10. Georgia
> Largest industry:
Federal Reserve banks, credit intermediation, and related services
> Industry GDP: $18.4 billion
> Industry GDP as pct. of total: 4.3%
> Industry private workforce: 72,990

Georgia’s credit intermediation subsector generates approximately $18.4 billion, or 4.3% of the state’s total GDP, more than any other industry in the state. The industry’s activities include lending funds raised from depositors and from credit market borrowing, and facilitating mortgage and other loan brokering. Of the six states where banking is the largest industry, Georgia’s banking sector contributed the least as a percentage of the state’s economy.

11. Hawaii
> Largest industry:
Accommodation
> Industry GDP: $3.8 billion
> Industry GDP as pct. of total: 5.4%
> Industry private workforce: 38,525

Hawaii’s favorable weather and natural beauty make it one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country. The vast majority of visitors to the state require temporary lodging. It is therefore not surprising that the accommodation industry generates about $3.8 billion, or 5.4% of Hawaii’s total GDP, a greater economic output than that of any other industry in the state.

12. Idaho
> Largest industry:
Computer and electronic products manufacturing
> Industry GDP: $3.1 billion
> Industry GDP as pct. of total: 5.5%
> Industry private workforce: 11,297

Of Idaho’s half a million residents employed in the private sector, more than 11,000 work in computer and electronic product manufacturing. Hewlett-Packard, one of the state’s largest employers, has a laser printer division in Boise. Computer and electronic product manufacturing is also the largest industry in Oregon, Idaho’s neighbor to the west.

13. Illinois
> Largest industry:
Insurance carriers and related activities
> Industry GDP: $25.9 billion
> Industry GDP as pct. of total: 3.9%
> Industry private workforce: 103,314

Of the six states where the largest industry is the insurance carriers and related activities subsector, Illinois’s insurance industry generates the largest dollar value. Insurance companies in the state contributed close to $26 billion, or nearly 4% of the state’s total GDP in 2013. Over 18,000 insurance sales agents are employed in Illinois, more than in all but four other states. The industry employs over 100,000 private employees in the state.

14. Indiana
> Largest industry:
Chemical products manufacturing
> Industry GDP: $23.8 billion
> Industry GDP as pct. of total: 8.3%
> Industry private workforce: 30,672

Chemical products manufacturing is the largest private industry in Indiana. Though it contributes 8.3% to the state’s total GDP, it only employs 1.2% of the state’s non-government workforce. Chemical products manufacturing is a subsector of the manufacturing industry. Nearly one-fifth of Indiana’s workforce is employed in the manufacturing industry, the largest share of any other state.

15. Iowa
> Largest industry:
Insurance carriers and related activities
> Industry GDP: $11.0 billion
> Industry GDP as pct. of total: 7.2%
> Industry private workforce: 41,045

The insurance carriers and related activities subsector contributes $11 billion to Iowa’s economy, the most of any industry. According to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, there are 214 Iowa insurance companies founded under the laws of the state, the eighth most in the nation. More than $26.6 billion in premiums and deposits are filed each year in the state — middle of the road compared with other states — accounting for 1.43% of premiums written nationwide.

16. Kansas
> Largest industry:
Hospitals and nursing and residential care facilities
> Industry GDP: $4.6 billion
> Industry GDP as pct. of total: 3.5%
> Industry private workforce: 86,797

Hospitals and assisted living facilities are a $4.6 billion industry in Kansas. Nearly 8% of the state’s non-government workforce is employed in this industry. Of the nine states where hospitals and assisted living facilities are the largest industry, Kansas’s hospital sector contributed the least, to both total private employment and GDP as a percentage of the state’s economy. The University of Kansas Medical Center, a major research institution, employs thousands of Kansas City residents. In 2014, the KU Medical Center received $55.8 million in funding.

17. Kentucky
> Largest industry:
Motor vehicles, bodies and trailers, and parts manufacturing
> Industry GDP: $7.9 billion
> Industry GDP as pct. of total: 4.6%
> Industry private workforce: 52,980

Manufacturing automobiles and automobile parts is a nearly $8 billion industry in Kentucky. Some of the world’s biggest car companies, including Ford, GM, and Toyota, have invested billions in manufacturing plants throughout the Bluegrass State. In 2013, 1.25 million vehicles were produced in Kentucky. The industry comprises 4.6% of the state’s GDP and employs 3.5% of its private workforce.

18. Louisiana
> Largest industry:
Chemical products manufacturing
> Industry GDP: $15.4 billion
> Industry GDP as pct. of total: 7.3%
> Industry private workforce: 23,305

Chemical giant Dow has six plant locations in Louisiana, and Dow Louisiana is the largest petrochemical company in the state. According to the company, its presence provides thousands of jobs to state residents and generates more than $1 billion for the state’s economy annually. The chemical products manufacturing industry as a whole, the state’s largest, pumps an estimated $15.4 billion into the economy, accounting for 7.3% of the state’s total GDP.

19. Maine
> Largest industry:
Hospitals and nursing and residential care facilities
> Industry GDP: $3.3 billion
> Industry GDP as pct. of total: 6.5%
> Industry private workforce: 55,971

As in eight other states, the hospital and nursing and residential care facilities industry is the largest subsector in Maine. Licensed nurses and medical and health services managers work in the industry. Nationwide, home health aides make up the largest share of the industry’s employment, with 237,690 home health aides as of last year.

20. Maryland
> Largest industry:
Ambulatory health care services
> Industry GDP: $11.2 billion
> Industry GDP as pct. of total: 3.5%
> Industry private workforce: 122,000

The ambulatory health care services subsector, which primarily provides outpatient health care, generates more than $11 billion in Maryland, more than any other industry in the state. According to the BLS, the Washington D.C. metropolitan area has one of the highest concentrations of ambulance workers. Like the state as a whole, area residents are relatively well paid. Ambulance dispatchers and other emergency workers in the D.C. area earn $47,200 annually, on average.

21. Massachusetts
> Largest industry:
Hospitals and nursing and residential care facilities
> Industry GDP: $19.4 billion
> Industry GDP as pct. of total: 4.7%
> Industry private workforce: 285,586

Contributing nearly $20 billion to Massachusetts’s GDP, hospitals and assisted living facilities are the biggest private industry in the Bay State. Boston is home to several medical institutions, such as Mass General Hospital, that are renowned for both their research and quality of care. US News and World Report ranks Massachusetts Eye and Ear as the best hospital in the United States for ear, nose, throat, head and neck care and the best overall hospital in the Northeast.

22. Michigan
> Largest industry:
Motor vehicles, bodies and trailers, and parts manufacturing
> Industry GDP: $42.4 billion
> Industry GDP as pct. of total: 10.4%
> Industry private workforce: 166,805

Home to Detroit, the Motor City, it is no surprise that automobile manufacturing is the largest private industry in Michigan. Contributing more than $42 billion to GDP, Michigan’s largest industry is part of the state’s manufacturing sector, which had the fifth largest output of any state’s manufacturing sector. Nearly 5% of Michigan’s private workforce is employed in automobile and part manufacturing. In addition to being home to some of the country’s largest car makers, including General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler, Michigan is responsible for nearly one-quarter of total vehicle production in the United States.

23. Minnesota
> Largest industry:
Ambulatory health care services
> Industry GDP: $11.8 billion
> Industry GDP as pct. of total: 4.2%
> Industry private workforce: 134,609

Ambulatory health care services is the biggest industry in Minnesota. Contributing nearly $12 billion to GDP, the industry generates more than 4% of the state’s economy. Ambulatory health care services, which includes dentistry and outpatient health care facilities, employs nearly 135,000 Minnesota residents — slightly less than 6% of the state’s non-government workforce.

24. Mississippi
> Largest industry:
Ambulatory health care services
> Industry GDP: $3.9 billion
> Industry GDP as pct. of total: 4.0%
> Industry private workforce: 45,842

In Mississippi, ambulatory health care services, which includes dentistry and outpatient health care facilities, accounts for about 4% of the state’s $95.6 billion total GDP. Because Mississippi often ranks as the least healthy state in country, it is perhaps not surprising that the ambulatory health care services industry is the state’s largest contributor to GDP. Nearly 46,000 of the state’s 866,000 private employees work in the industry.

25. Missouri
> Largest industry:
Hospitals and nursing and residential care facilities
> Industry GDP: $10.9 billion
> Industry GDP as pct. of total: 4.2%
> Industry private workforce: 197,663

Hospitals and assisted living facilities are a nearly $11 billion industry in Missouri. The industry employs nearly 9% of the state’s private workforce and accounts for 4.2% of the Missouri’s total GDP. There are only seven other states where the largest industry employed a greater share of the private workforce. Missouri’s largest industry employed 8.8% of the state’s 2.3 million private workers.

26. Montana
> Largest industry:
Hospitals and nursing and residential care facilities
> Industry GDP: $1.9 billion
> Industry GDP as pct. of total: 4.8%
> Industry private workforce: 34,570

Almost one in every 10 non-government employees in Montana are employed by hospitals and nursing and residential care facilities, the state’s largest industry. This includes inpatient hospital care and residential health facilities. The industry, which is the largest contributor to GDP In eight other states, makes up 4.8% of Montana’s total GDP.

27. Nebraska
> Largest industry:
Insurance carriers and related activities
> Industry GDP: $5.5 billion
> Industry GDP as pct. of total: 5.5%
> Industry private workforce: 25,112

Contributing about $5.5 billion to Nebraska’s GDP, the insurance industry makes up 5.5% of the state’s economy. Of the six states where insurance is the largest industry, Nebraska has the second lowest number of people working in the insurance field. However, due to the state’s relatively small population, the insurance industry employs the second highest share of workers compared to the same five other states. Just over 25,000 Nebraska residents, or 3.2% of the private workforce, work in insurance.

28. Nevada
> Largest industry:
Accommodation
> Industry GDP: $13.0 billion
> Industry GDP as pct. of total: 10.9%
> Industry private workforce: 191,115

Nevada is famous for its entertainment industry, which attracts millions of tourists and casino-goers each year. According to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, 24.3 million people visited Las Vegas over the 12 months through this July, up 2% from the previous period. The vast majority of these visitors stayed in hotels and other temporary accommodations, helping the industry generate an estimated $13.0 billion.

29. New Hampshire
> Largest industry:
Insurance carriers and related activities
> Industry GDP: $2.9 billion
> Industry GDP as pct. of total: 4.5%
> Industry private workforce: 13,570

New Hampshire is one of two New England states where the insurance industry contributes most to GDP. But while the industry contributes more than $17.3 billion to Connecticut’s GDP, it only contributes about $2.9 billion to New Hampshire’s economy. The largest industries in only three other states contribute less to their respective state economies compared to New Hampshire’s insurance industry contribution.

30. New Jersey
> Largest industry:
Ambulatory health care services
> Industry GDP: $19.3 billion
> Industry GDP as pct. of total: 3.8%
> Industry private workforce: 207,573

The ambulatory health care services industry makes up 3.8% of New Jersey’s total GDP. Since 1990, the industry has added jobs at a faster rate than hospitals and nursing and residential care facilities to be the primary industry employer in New Jersey’s health care system. A recent study by Navigant Consulting has recommended a few of New Jersey’s hospitals switch their medical focus to ambulatory care in order to preserve their financial health.

31. New Mexico
> Largest industry:
Oil and gas extraction
> Industry GDP: $3.7 billion
> Industry GDP as pct. of total: 4.5%
> Industry private workforce: 5,196

Oil and gas extraction contributes about $3.7 billion to New Mexico’s GDP, more than any other non-government industry in the state. Despite its status as the state’s largest industry by GDP contribution, only 0.8% of New Mexico’s private workforce are employed in the industry, the smallest share of workers employed in the largest industry of any state. New Mexico is the largest producer of petroleum of the Rocky Mountain states and is among the top 10 natural gas producers in the country.

32. New York
> Largest industry:
Federal Reserve banks, credit intermediation, and related services
> Industry GDP: $99.1 billion
> Industry GDP as pct. of total: 7.9%
> Industry private workforce: 160,213

New York, home to the financial capital of the world, employs 160,213 workers in the federal reserve banks, credit intermediation, and related services industry. With a GDP contribution of almost $100 billion, the finance industry is not only the largest in New York but also larger than in any other state, over twice that of its runner-up California. And while the industry accounts for 7.9% of New York’s total GDP, it only makes up 2.1% of its private employment.

33. North Carolina
> Largest industry:
Federal Reserve banks, credit intermediation, and related services
> Industry GDP: $26.4 billion
> Industry GDP as pct. of total: 6.1%
> Industry private workforce: 84,084

Contributing $26.4 billion to North Carolina’s total GDP, federal reserve banks, credit intermediation, and related services is the largest industry in the state. According to the Center for Globalization, Governance & Competitiveness, a research group at Duke University, North Carolina’s historically lenient banking regulations have contributed the most to the state’s dominant banking industry. Based on assets, Charlotte is the nation’s second largest banking city. Behind New York and California, North Carolina has the third-largest federal reserve banks, credit intermediation and related services industry in the country.

34. North Dakota
> Largest industry:
Support activities for mining
> Industry GDP: $3.5 billion
> Industry GDP as pct. of total: 7.7%
> Industry private workforce: 22,032

The support activities for mining industry is the largest in North Dakota, the only state where this was the case. Support activities include exploring for new minerals, particularly oil and gas. The industry’s dominance over even the state’s extraction industry is partially due to the still plentiful opportunities for new drilling locations. The discovery of the Parshall Oil Field and recent advances in fracking technology fueled the state’s colossal oil boom, which helped North Dakota stave off the worst of the recession. Despite recent job declines in the state, North Dakota still has nearly the lowest unemployment rate.

35. Ohio
> Largest industry:
Hospitals and nursing and residential care facilities
> Industry GDP: $22.3 billion
> Industry GDP as pct. of total: 4.3%
> Industry private workforce: 410,900

Ohio is one of nine states whose largest industry is hospitals and nursing and residential care facilities. Although the industry only comprises 4.3% of Ohio’s GDP, it employs 9.2% of its workforce. At a GDP contribution of $22.3 billion, this industry is the largest in Ohio and the seventh largest hospitals and nursing and residential care facilities industry in the nation.

36. Oklahoma
> Largest industry:
Oil and gas extraction
> Industry GDP: $13.7 billion
> Industry GDP as pct. of total: 8.7%
> Industry private workforce: 24,328

Oklahoma is one of four states where the largest industry is oil and gas extraction. With an industry GDP contribution of $13.7 billion, Oklahoma has the third largest oil and extraction industry in the country, behind Texas and California. In the past few years, there has been increased oil and gas extraction, which experts have linked to a dangerous string of earthquakes. As a result, Oklahoma regulators have recently mandated production cutbacks, leaving the future of Oklahoma’s largest industry uncertain.

37. Oregon
> Largest industry:
Computer and electronic products manufacturing
> Industry GDP: $41.3 billion
> Industry GDP as pct. of total: 21.0%
> Industry private workforce: 36,576

The industry adding the most value to Oregon’s economy is computer and electronic products manufacturing. This industry is also the largest in two other states — California and Idaho — which border Oregon. Geographical location clearly plays some role in how income is generated in a state. As Kohli suggested, these states may have greater numbers of workers equipped with skills suited for the industry. There are numerous semiconductor companies in Oregon. One of the largest, Intel, employs roughly 17,500 state residents and claims to be the state’s largest private employer.

38. Pennsylvania
> Largest industry:
Hospitals and nursing and residential care facilities
> Industry GDP: $28.0 billion
> Industry GDP as pct. of total: 4.7%
> Industry private workforce: 472,166

As is the case nationwide, the relatively large elderly population in Pennsylvania may help explain the dominance of health-related industries in the state. Older Americans tend to require more frequent medical attention. The hospitals and nursing and residential care facilities subsector generated $28 billion in Pennsylvania, a greater contribution than any other industry. In Pennsylvania, 16.4% of residents are over 65 years old, the fifth highest such share nationwide.

39. Rhode Island
> Largest industry:
Hospitals and nursing and residential care facilities
> Industry GDP: $2.8 billion
> Industry GDP as pct. of total: 5.5%
> Industry private workforce: 42,023

In Rhode Island, more than one in every 10 non government workers is employed in hospitals and nursing and residential care facilities, the state’s largest industry. This industry, which includes inpatient hospital care and residential health facilities, is particularly strong in states with large shares of residents aged 65 and older. In Rhode Island, 15.5% of residents are 65 and older, the ninth-largest share of older residents in the country. The hospitals and nursing and residential care facilities industry accounts for 5.5% of Rhode Island’s GDP.

40. South Carolina
> Largest industry:
Administrative and support services
> Industry GDP: $6.5 billion
> Industry GDP as pct. of total: 3.8%
> Industry private workforce: 133,103

South Carolina is the only state with administrative and support services as the largest industry. While the industry contributes $6.5 billion to South Carolina’s GDP, it is only the 23rd largest administrative and support services industry in the country. The administrative and support services industry, which includes services such as general management, personnel administration, clerical activities and cleaning, is integral to the operation of all other sectors of the economy. The industry employs 8.6% of South Carolina’s workforce, one of the highest concentrations of a state’s workforce of any single industry.

41. South Dakota
> Largest industry:
Federal Reserve banks, credit intermediation, and related services
> Industry GDP: $5.0 billion
> Industry GDP as pct. of total: 12.8%
> Industry private workforce: 17,562

South Dakota’s largest industry, making up 12.8% of the state’s total GDP, is federal reserve banks, credit intermediation, and related services. There has been an influx of trust company charters in South Dakota in the past two decades, owed much to the state’s favorable financial regulation laws. In particular, the abolishment of the rule against perpetuity, which is still in effect in most states and which limits trusts to about a 100-year period, has attracted companies looking to establish trust dynasties in the area. South Dakota holds $2.83 trillion in bank assets, the most of any state.

42. Tennessee
> Largest industry:
Ambulatory health care services
> Industry GDP: $13.1 billion
> Industry GDP as pct. of total: 4.8%
> Industry private workforce: 135,178

Tennessee is one of eight states whose largest industry is ambulatory health care services. While generating $13.1 billion, Tennessee’s ambulatory health care services industry is only the 16th largest such industry in the country. With a workforce of 135,178, the industry employs 5.8% of the state’s employees.

43. Texas
> Largest industry:
Oil and gas extraction
> Industry GDP: $123.9 billion
> Industry GDP as pct. of total: 8.9%
> Industry private workforce: 103,838

The large oil and gas extraction industry in Texas demonstrates the importance of geography for many state economies, as Kohli observed. In four states, the energy industry contributes the most to GDP, and only one of these states — Alaska — does not share a border with Texas. With a $123.9 billion oil and gas extraction industry, it is no wonder Texas is the nation’s leading energy producer. According to the EIA, the state also leads the nation in energy consumption, accounting for more than one-eighth of all energy consumed in the country.

44. Utah
> Largest industry:
Federal Reserve banks, credit intermediation, and related services
> Industry GDP: $6.8 billion
> Industry GDP as pct. of total: 5.5%
> Industry private workforce: 32,092

Contributing nearly $6.8 billion to the state’s total GDP, federal reserve banks, credit intermediation, and related services is Utah’s largest industry. This is mostly due to the contentious industrial loan banking sector, a practice that Utah leads in the country by a large margin. Industrial banking, which allows non-financial entities to operate as banks, came into controversy in 2007 when commercial giants Wal-Mart and Home Depot sought industrial bank charters. The federal government placed a moratorium on new industrial banks in 2010. While the moratorium expired in 2013, no new applications for industrial banks have been filed since, leaving the future growth of Utah’s largest industry uncertain.

45. Vermont
> Largest industry:
Hospitals and nursing and residential care facilities
> Industry GDP: $1.2 billion
> Industry GDP as pct. of total: 4.6%
> Industry private workforce: 20,358

This September, the group responsible for overseeing Vermont’s health care system, the Green Mountain Care Board, approved the budgets of all 14 private hospitals in the state. The UVM Medical Center in Burlington, Vermont’s largest hospital, generates roughly $1.1 billion in revenue from patient services, close to half all hospital patient revenue generated in the state. The industry as a whole, which in addition to hospitals includes nursing and residential care facilities, contributes $1.2 billion to the state’s economy, or 4.6% of Vermont’s GDP.

46. Virginia
> Largest industry:
Food and beverage and tobacco products manufacturing
> Industry GDP: $15.7 billion
> Industry GDP as pct. of total: 3.7%
> Industry private workforce: 36,541

Tobacco has been an important driver of Virginia’s economy since the plant was discovered by English settlers in the early 17th century. The subsector now includes food and beverage manufacturing, which in Virginia, is dominated by large food processing companies. Kraft, Hershey Chocolate, and MillerCoors — to name a few examples — all have major operations in the state. The industry as a whole generates $15.7 billion, or about 3.7% of Virginia’s GDP.

47. Washington
> Largest industry:
Publishing industries, except Internet (includes software)
> Industry GDP: $30.2 billion
> Industry GDP as pct. of total: 8.0%
> Industry private workforce: 60,635

Washington is the only state where print publishing is the largest industry. Its share of Washington’s economy is relatively large compared to that of the largest industries in other states. Accounting for 8% of Washington’s total economy, there are only 11 states where the largest industry contributes a larger share to the state’s GDP. Despite the publishing industry’s large contribution to GDP, it employs a relatively small share of the private workforce. Only 2.4% of privately employed workers in Washington work in the state’s largest industry, a smaller proportion than in all but 14 other states.

48. West Virginia
> Largest industry:
Mining, except oil and gas
> Industry GDP: $6.0 billion
> Industry GDP as pct. of total: 9.2%
> Industry private workforce: 20,943

Mining includes ore extraction, quarrying, and beneficiation, the process by which raw minerals are crushed, screened, washed, and sized. While natural gas and other energy sources are gaining importance in West Virginia, coal is by far the state’s most abundant resource. West Virginia’s mining industry contributed $6 billion, or 9.2% to the state’s total economy.

49. Wisconsin
> Largest industry:
Insurance carriers and related activities
> Industry GDP: $12.2 billion
> Industry GDP as pct. of total: 4.6%
> Industry private workforce: 63,124

Wisconsin is one of six states where the largest industry by GDP contribution is insurance. Of those states, Wisconsin has the third largest insurance industry after Connecticut and Illinois, worth more than $12 billion in 2013. Just over 63,000 people work in the insurance industry in Wisconsin, about 2.7% of the private workforce.

50. Wyoming
> Largest industry:
Mining, except oil and gas
> Industry GDP: $4.9 billion
> Industry GDP as pct. of total: 13.7%
> Industry private workforce: 9,544

Wyoming is home to the eight largest coal mines in the United States and produces more coal than any other state. Mining is also the biggest industry in the state. Nearly 14% of Wyoming’s total GDP comes from the mining industry. The largest industry in only three other states account for a larger share of their respective states’ economies. With about 40% of all coal mined in the United States coming from Wyoming, mining is a nearly $5 billion industry in the country’s least populated state.

Now that you know the largest industry in each state, check out America’s richest (and poorest) states.