10. General Electric
> Total employees: 305,000
> Industry: Conglomerate
> 1-yr. stock price change: +13.0%
General Electric Co. (NYSE: GE) is one of the few U.S.-based public companies that employed more than 300,000 full and part-time workers. Of these employees, the company noted, roughly 134,000 worked in the United States. If not for its shedding of NBC Universal, these figures would have been higher. GE’s former subsidiary, now owned by Comcast, had 14,000 employees as of 2010. GE has long been a major source of technological innovation, from incandescent lighting to the refrigerator and the jet engine. The company is pushing heavily into software and plans to hire thousands of engineers to improve the software capabilities of its machinery.
> Total employees: 331,800
> Industry: Technology
> 1-yr. stock price change: +32.4%
Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ) had 331,800 workers worldwide as of last October. The company, however, is in the midst of massive job cuts. In May 2012, HP announced it would cut 29,000 employees by fiscal 2014, both through voluntary retirement and job cuts. As of March, the company still had 15,000 more jobs that needed to be cut to reach these goals, according to ComputerWorld. In late 2012, the company also wrote down its Autonomy acquisition by $8.8 billion after it was determined Autonomy had lied about its finances.
8. Home Depot
> Total employees: 340,000
> Industry: Home improvement
> 1-yr. stock price change: +31.0%
As of February, Home Depot Inc. (NYSE: HD) employed roughly 340,000 people. Of these, however, just 21,000 were salaried, with the vast majority working either hourly or only on a temporary basis. The company is active throughout North America, but it is mostly located in the United States. The home improvement retailer had just under 2,000 stores in the U.S., 180 in Canada and 100 in Mexico. After his appointment in 2007, current CEO Frank Blake removed previous pay limits so the company could hire knowledgeable specialists. He also improved employee benefits as part of his efforts to produce better customer service.
> Total employees: 343,000
> Industry: Grocery stores
> 1-yr. stock price change: +71.5%
Kroger Co. (NYSE: KR) employed roughly 343,000 full-time and part-time workers as of February. The majority of Kroger employees “are covered by collective bargaining agreements negotiated with local unions affiliated with one of several different international unions,” according to the company. The company’s track record of working with unions has earned it accolades over the years. In 2011, it acquired several Schnucks grocery stores in the Memphis area. One local official noted, “Kroger is a very good, pro-labor, pro-union chain, … if it has to be bought up by somebody, I’m glad its them.” In July, Kroger announced it was buying supermarket chain Harris Teeter, although its new acquisition is expected to stay union-free.
> Total employees: 361,000
> Industry: Retail
> 1-yr. stock price change: +5.9%
Target Corp. (NYSE: TGT) employed 361,000 full-time, part-time and seasonal, workers as of February 2013. Like many retailers, however, Target’s hiring swells during the holiday season. Between Thanksgiving and the end of the year, Target had approximately 409,000 workers. Most, if not nearly all, of these workers were likely employed in the United States. Target has no presence outside of the U.S. and Canada, and it only began operating stores in Canada in March 2013. Target has been criticized in recent years for its opposition to unions. In June 2011, one executive told The Wall Street Journal that “it has always been our goal to have a culture where our team members don’t want or need union representation.” Earlier that month, Gawker Media had released an internal video, apparently shown to new Target employees, that discouraged them from joining unions.