Wal-Mart Is Largest Employer in 20 States

Source: courtesy of Wal-Mart Stores Inc.
With 1.3 million employees, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE: WMT) is the largest private employer in the United States. The company operates more than 4,500 Wal-Mart stores and nearly 650 Sam’s Club stores in the 50 states, and it is the largest employer in 20 of them. In 2014, Wal-Mart’s U.S. net sales totaled $279.4 billion.

An institution of that size, breadth and economic power cannot help but wield an outsized influence, both economically and socially. When, for example, the nation’s largest retailer raises wages, as Wal-Mart announced in February that it would do, other retailers are virtually forced into raising wages in order to recruit and retain their own workers.

In the states where it is the largest employer, Wal-Mart’s action cannot help but act as a rising tide to lift all boats. Here is a list of the 20 states where Wal-Mart is the largest employer, along with the number of workers employed in each state. It comes from our report on the largest employer in each state.

  • Alabama: 34,000
  • Arizona: 32,373
  • Arkansas: 50,000
  • Florida: about 95,000
  • Georgia: about 51,000
  • Illinois: 51,137
  • Kentucky: about 28,000
  • Louisiana: 34,633
  • Mississippi: 23,430
  • Missouri: more than 40,000
  • Montana: 4,533
  • North Carolina: more than 49,000
  • Ohio: about 47,000
  • Oklahoma: 31,096
  • South Carolina: 26,829
  • Tennessee: 38,569
  • Texas: 156,195
  • Virginia – about 40,000
  • West Virginia: 10,855
  • Wyoming: more than 4,000

Wal-Mart is the largest employer in the smallest state by population (Wyoming) and in the second-largest state (Texas). In six of the 10 most populous states — Texas, Florida, Illinois, Ohio, Georgia, North Carolina — Wal-Mart is the largest employer, while it is the largest employer in just two of the least populous states — Wyoming and Montana.

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