Largest Industry in Each State

Print Email

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.